Anna Karenina: In Half the Time
, by Leo Tolstoy, is part of the Compact Editions published by Orion Publishing Group (and still has 400 pages, in the paper edition). This one is for UK readers only, but is free for them in both the US and UK stores (UK link
). There are, of course, other editions for US readers in the Kindle store, including this free one
converted from Gutenberg and which contains the entire work, translated from Russian to English (and which, according to the paper editions, contains anywhere from 850-1100 "pages", so is substantially longer that this compact edition).
Anna Karenina is the heart-wrenching tale of a woman who recklessly throws away everything she has for a passionate affair with a young soldier. Beautiful, popular, wife to a wealthy man and mother to an adored son, Anna seems to be in an enviable position. However, it takes only one encounter with Count Vronsky to fill her with the sense that her life has hitherto been empty. As the rest of the world fades into insignificance next to her great love, Anna faces an impossible choice.
Leo Tolstoy was born in 1828 at Yasnaya Polyana, province of Tula, the fourth son of Count Nikolay Tolstoy. Between 1856 and 1861 Tolstoy wrote and traveled abroad extensively. He returned with a sense of revulsion for what he considered to be European materialism. In 1859 he started several schools for peasant children at Yasnaya and in 1862 he founded a magazine in which he contended that it was the peasants who should teach the intellectuals, rather than the other way round. Tolstoy's increasingly radical political stance at the end of his life alienated his wife. He frequently dispensed huge sums of money to beggars and drew up a will relinquishing his copyrights. Such behavior led to frequent disputes with his Sofia. Finding it impossible to continue living a comfortable life with his family whilst preaching communism, he left Yasnaya in 1910, with one of his daughters and his doctor, for an unknown destination. He died on the journey and was buried in a simple peasant's grave.
The great classics contain passionate romance, thrilling adventure, arresting characters, unforgettable scenes and situations. But finding time to read them can be a problem. So, we've condensed some of the finest books in the world to a manageable length to enable everyone to enjoy them
* A unique concept
* The reductions in length have been done with sensitivity and retain the author's own words
* The popularity of TV and movie adaptations of the Classics shows that there is an audience for the Compact Editions series
* Distinctive modern cover treatment and attractive, readable text
* Includes a time line to place the book in its historical context
* 'The Compact Editions are aimed at encouraging more mainstream readers to become better acquainted with our literary heritage which, personally, I salute' Sarah Broadhurst, The Bookseller
* 'For "ordinary" readers - people who want nothing more than to be diverted by some of the greatest prose writing ever produced - I can't see why it matters if they opt for a crisper version of a rambling old classic' Kathryn Hughes, Guardian Unlimited Books