Curator Reviews

James Ivory

Simply the best novel I ever read.

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Edmund White

Probably the greatest novel ever written for its psychological and sociological accuracy over a wide range of characters. My favorite scene occurs when Anna, the day after she meets Vronsky, gets out of her train at a country station in a snowstorm-and runs into Vronsky!

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Bret Easton Ellis

The greatest of all Russian novels; as satisfying as a tragic soap opera as well as an epic philosophical trip into the Russian psyche and soul. Along with Madame Bovary, Anna Karenina is the greatest female character ever created.

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Rufus Wainwright

The second most perfect novel ever written.

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Lisa Yuskavage

I genuinely grieved for Anna for days after I finished reading it. That’s what reading Tolstoy is like…the best and purest realism. I also love that a man wrote a story that so perfectly portrays the misogyny that this woman was subjected to: punished for loving another man, torn apart from her son, isolated and addicted to drugs and suffering postpartum depression. Super sad and beautiful.

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Laura Linney

There is a section in “Anna Karenina” where Levin goes into the fields to assist the peasants with his harvest. It is hard work, at first awkward and frustrating. The labor requires strength, patience and a centered connection to one's self before productivity and pleasure are possible. This passage has always stuck with me as an example of the level of commitment it takes to do anything well in life. I try to remind myself of Levin when life or work feels overwhelming. The rest of the book, of course, is just a big, fat masterpiece.

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David Copperfield

As good as they say. Tolstoy is a cardiologist. The man knew everything about the human heart. It's all on display here.

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Chelsea Handler

I don't know if I have to expound on why I love this book, but everyone should read Tolstoy, and this was the first one of his works I read. So, it's like a first boyfriend. Or my first Cabbage Patch Kid.

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James Ivory

Simply the best novel I ever read.

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Roz Chast

A great and tragic love story set against the social upheavals in Russia in the 1870s. Like “The Great Gatsby,” this is a book I’ve read three times in my life. I read it maybe five years ago and realized for the first time that Anna Karenina was an opium addict.

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