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Edging Toward Fiction’s Crisis Point

Anna Karenina – Section Six, by Leo Tolstoy

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The honeymoons are over for our two mirrored couples, Anna and Vrónsky, and Kitty and Lévin. The Lévins are now entertaining family at their rural estate, and Konstantín, who has proven himself to be something of a loner thus far, is having a bit of trouble adapting to swarms of family members. But he proves himself an adaptive guy and eventually comes to enjoy the company.\

Meanwhile, Anna and Vrónsky are at Vrónsky’s more elaborate estate and spending money wildly. His spending, however, has an altruistic cant – he’s building a hospital. And Anna’s eyes are beginning to wander – it’s boredom and a bit of jealousy at Vrónsky’s frequent absences. Vrónsky, being no one’s fool, notices her unrest and tries to enlist help from Anna’s friend, Dolly Oblónsky, in obtaining a divorce for Anna from Alexéi Alexándrovich. This seems, at this point to be the only way for Anna and Vrónsky to settle their mutual unrest and assume a normal life.

Tolstoy isn’t turning his plot dramatically here; he’s simply relying on his ability to advance his characters and plot in a realistic way toward what will surely be a crisis point for all.

 

My rating: 17 of 20 stars