Yes, this is a classic novel and yes, it’s almost 1,000 pages. Please, PLEASE, don’t let that turn you away from this golden work. I read this for my freshman year of college and, let me tell you, there was so much groaning over the sight of this book. But, after about 50 pages, no one whined about it anymore.
Tolstoy is a genius with words and literary devices. He can take 5 full pages to explain what it feels like to sit and spend the day on an electric grass mower and somehow not bore the reader. That takes talent.
There’s no way for me to even begin a summary of Anna Karenina. There are so many different plot lines going on that take place in different families and countries. I can’t even pick one theme to focus this recommendation on, because there simply are too many.
What I found really interesting about Anna Karenina is how it was written. An entire character with this own central storyline, Levin, was not part of the original novel. Tolstoy finished the book without a mention of Levin, re-read his draft, and decided to add a whole new character. The storylines flow so well that it’s hard to imagine the world without Levin.
In conclusion, please do not let the length of Anna Karenina stop you from reading it. It truly is a literary masterpiece that I will (try) to read again in the future.