I started reading this book a couple of days ago. So far, I’ve read a bit more than 10% of it. I think anyone who enjoys reading Jane Austen would appreciate Tolstoy’s style in this book, it is easy to read, and gives enough details to get to know the characters and understand their emotions, but without going too deep, allowing the story to advance relatively fast(disclaimer: I am reading it in Spanish, so I cannot really generalize this to other translations of the book).
Whenever I read a book, I try to match every character with either an actor or an acquaintance of mine. It is like choosing a face so that imagining the events is easier (and more fun). I’ve chosen mines so far. Most of them are actors (for instance, Anna is Katherine Z. Jones hehe), but a couple – like Kostya and Nicolas Levin, or Vronsky – are friends of mine that coincide either with the physical description of the character or with his personality.
Something I like about the book in the context of learning Russian, is that it includes many unknown and untranslated words that I have to Google. For instance, poddiovka. I had seen those poddiovkas before – one of my bf’s friends wore one for Easter – but I didn’t know how they were called.
I also find odd and interesting how the characters refer to each other by, not only their first name, but their patronymic (their “second name”, which is derived from their father’s name) very naturally. For my culture, calling someone by both their first and second name would be too formal, even ridiculous, even if this person was not close to you.
Google has also helped me finding the location of every city or town mentioned in the book. It helps me follow the story better and imagine things more vividly. I also liked how they described train rides and winter. Being from a tropical climate, winter is not familiar to me at all, and being from an underdeveloped small country, trains are also not a normal way of transportation (even less when we talk about train rides that last for more than a day, and where people spend the night on board…c’mon my home-country is not even big enough for a train ride to last a whole day!)…again, very interesting 🙂
I am looking forward to continuing devouring this novel, and after I do that I want to start Master and Margarita (why? well…(1) there is a song by a singer called Basta named Master and Margarita that I really like, and (2) I want to read another Russian classic ^^ …solid logic :).