I wish I had done a bit of research into the best translation of this book. I chose this version because I liked the cover. (Aren't those flowers pretty? And so purple--and we know how I like that color purple!) I felt as if I was reading a really modern translation of the book, one that skimmed over some of the depth of the book.
Also, I thought the book would be about Anna. Yeah, it wasn't just about her. It's actually about seven people, with a fair amount dedicated to each one. So be prepared for that, ok?
Here's the main characters and my quick commentary:
Anna Arkadyevna Karenina – The title character, sister to Stepan and lover of Vronsky
*"Vronsky, you're hott, I'm leaving my husband, oh wait, that means I have to leave my poor son behind, oh well, Vronsky, let's have a baby. Wait, now you're ignoring me and sick of me? I'm going to kill myself!"
Count Alexei Kirillovich Vronsky – Lover of Anna
*"Anna, you're hott, leave your husband, oh, but wow, you can be tiresome. Okay, you're dead, I'm going to war."
Prince Stepan Arkadyevitch Oblonsky ("Stiva") – a civil servant
*"I may be man-whore, but at least I'm nice---and yikes, really in debt!"
Darya Alexandrovna Oblonskaya ("Dolly") – Stepan's wife
*"My husband's a cheater and my life is dedicated to my babies. Yet I'm not that annoying and a nice contrast to other characters."
Alexei Alexandrovich Karenin – Anna's husband
*"Anna's leaving me, I'm a wreck, my job is stalled--yet I will find happiness in mysticism and in the platonic friendship of a nice countess."
Konstantin Dmitrievitch Levin – Kitty's suitor and the novel's other protagonist
*"Wow, I have a lot of emotional issues. Good thing Kitty finally agrees to marry me; she's a good influence on me and our marriage makes an excellent comparison to Anna and Vronsky's relationship."
Ekaterina Alexandrovna Shcherbatskaya ("Kitty") – Darya's younger sister
*"When you're young, you make mistakes in love, but hey, you grow up and it turns out okay! Yay babies and husbands!"
I actually liked Levin and Kitty the best. Their marriage has issues, but they work them out. I like that--it's realism.
So, anyway, go read Cliff Notes or something if you want more on this book. But in closing I will leave you with two bits of "Trivia" from Wikipedia about Anna Karenina:*Jennifer Lopez is reading Anna Karenina on the subway in the Will and Grace episode "FYI: I Hurt Too" (Season 7, Episode 1).
*Karenna Gore Schiff, daughter of Tipper and Al Gore, is named for the main character; Tipper read the book during her pregnancy.