The husband-and-wife team who have given us refreshing English versions of Dostoevsky, Gogol, and Chekhov now present their lucid translation of Tolstoy's panoramic tale of adultery and society: a masterwork that may well be the greatest realistic novel ever written. It's a beautifully structured fiction, which contrasts the aristocratic world of two prominent families with the ideal utopian one dreamed by earnest Konstantin Levin (a virtual self-portrait). The characters of the enchanting Anna (a descendant of Flaubert's Emma Bovary and Fontane's Effi Briest, and forerunner of countless later literary heroines), the lover (Vronsky) who proves worthy of her indiscretion, her bloodless husband Karenin and ingenuous epicurean brother Stiva, among many others, are quite literally unforgettable. Perhaps the greatest virtue of this splendid translation is the skill with which it distinguishes the accents of Anna's romantic egoism from the spare narrative clarity with which a vast spectrum of Russian life is vividly portrayed.
Pevear's informative introduction and numerous helpful explanatory notes help make this the essential Anna Karenina.