"All happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."
There are many unhappy families in Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, a wonderful, wonderful novel with I have been reading for over a month now. Usually, I am a fast reader. There are many books I have sat down with, and have not stood up until I had finished reading it. Anna Karenina, however, is- as I've said before- a process. It is beautiful and a lengthy near eight hundred pages. It catalogs several groups of characters, all who intertwine.
For example, the novel does not begin with the title character. It begins with Stepan "Stiva" Oblonsky and his wife, Dolly. He is having an affair, and this is where the unhappiness begins. He is the brother of Anna, and she comes to fix the problem.
However, when Anna starts to have her own troubles, everyone around her begins to have troubles as well. By the end of the novel, Stiva and Dolly's marriage has completely fallen apart. Kitty, Dolly's sister, is rejected by Vronsky, who becomes Anna's paramour instead. Anna's husband becomes controlled by a woman who tells his son that Anna is dead.
Tolstoy, I have found, is a genius of the written word. There is so much in Anna Karenina that at first caused me to wonder about it inclusion, but by the end, everything comes together. It is not neat or tied with a bow, and it is not happy.
But Tolstoy certainly shows his readers the differences in unhappy families.