Anna Karenina — Leo Tolstoy

Many people consider this to be the greatest novel ever written, and who am I to argue — I loved it. The main characters are well-rounded and believable — I especially liked the man-about-town Oblonsky (he of the famous unhappy family which is unhappy in its own way) and the solid and thoughtful Levin (Tolstoy under another name).

Thanks to the third-person narrative, we get to read not only what everyone thinks, but what everyone thinks everyone else thinks. It’s all very nicely put together, though the writing is evocative of a lost era. Even though it’s quite long, it moves at a good pace — there’s plenty of development of the various characters as the narrative trundles on to its (spoiler alert) tragic conclusion.

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