On Monday, March 5th the Booked for the Day book group met to discuss Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, while nibbling Russian Tea Cakes and chocolates (provided by Julie!).
When Tolstoy was 34, he courted and married 18-year-old Sonya Andreevna Behrs, the daughter of a former friend. Most readers of are interested to learn that many of the details of Kitty and Levin’s romance, courtship and marriage are drawn from the author’s relationship with his wife Sonya.
Like Levin’s love for the Shcherbatskys, which first drew him to friendship with the older brother, then admiration for Dolly and finally marriage to Kitty, Count Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy picked out the family he would marry into before he actually chose his bride. He had always planned to marry one of the daughters of his childhood sweetheart, Liubov Behrs. Although the family expected him to choose the eldest daughter, Lisa, Tolstoy found himself captivated instead by the middle sister, Sonya. He began to fall for Sonya when she was still a child of 14: “If she were four years older, I would propose to her now,” he wrote to a friend. Four years later he did propose.
Tatyana Tolstaya's "Night" relates the story of a middle-aged, retarded man and his eighty-year-old mother, who has devoted her life to caring for him in their Moscow apartment. Characters on the edge of society, such as Alexei and Mamochka, are not unusual in Tolstaya's stories; in fact, she acknowledged in an interview with that she writes of Russians who are "always a little bit crazy."
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