The Anna Karenina Fix: Life Lessons from Russian Literature

Viv Groskop
The Anna Karenina Fix: Life Lessons from Russian Literature

Here we are approaching the end of another year, and yet again I am promising to (re)read the great Russian Classics—about the tenth year in a row I planned to do so! Imagine my joy when I came across this terrific book; it saves you reading thousands of pages and sorting out who is who. Each chapter summarises one of the greats, and points out lessons for life.

The author is something of a Russian classics scholar, so she handles with great ease the works of Tolstoy, Turgenev, Checkov, Pushkin, Dostoevsky and others. She believes that everything that has happened in life has already happened in these novels: not being sure what to do with your life (Anna Karenina/Tolstoy), being in love with someone who doesn’t love you (A Month in the Country/ Turgenov), feeling you are never in the right place at the right time (all of Checkov’s novels.)

Each chapter is headed with a ‘how to live your life’ inspirational quote: how not to be your own worst enemy (Eugene Onegin/Pushkin); how to overcome inner guilt (Crime and Punishment/Dostoevsky) and so on.

Far from being immersed in doom and gloom and total confusion over all the characters who seem to have the same names, The Anna Karenina Fix left me feeling really happy, and quite a bit more informed. And more determined to tackle Anna again, or perhaps watch the movie again—not to mention listen to the opera, Onegin, and rejoice in his downfall!