"All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way," is the first sentence of the book, and this is really what the whole book is about, how each character strives for happiness because they feel unhappy. It examines the way people view their problems, families and how they strive to resolve their issues. The book is not necessarily all about Anna, it's about all the people she knows and the story is told from all of their perspectives. You get to know each character on a deep and personal level, their fears and their hopes come to life, and even though it's set in the 19th century Russia, we can relate to each character on some level. It's no wonder this book is said to be the best of the best. It's not a very easy read, as Tolstoy mixes romance with Russian politics and socioeconomic problems, but once I finished the book I understood why he did it. It's to make the reader more aware of all the issues that were going on at the time, everything influences our lives, even if it is politics, people are effected by all that is going on in their country. And the character Levin is deeply involved in farming so the socioeconomic issues are important to understand. The book really needs to be read to be appreciated, and I really wish I hadn't seen the movie after I finished reading this, it just ruined it for me. The book is so much better then all the movies made from it so far. I loved this book, too bad I knew the ending before I started it, but it still did the job, I read a few chapters a day, it was a bit difficult to wrap my head around all these characters and all their problems, with a lot of details and imagery. But the story is beautiful, it takes time to understand.
Tolstoy is a master of the written word, he has the ability to completely engage the reader into the lives of his characters.