The truth is, I didn’t read this book, but I listened to the audiobook book on and off for months. My memory – from years before – was that this was the most ‘perfect’ of realist novels, a wonderfully composed picture of psychological narrative, an examination of the boundaries of personal desire and social rules. I was expecting to give it a five-star review. Perhaps it was Davina Porter’s slightly annoying British twang, but instead I found the book to be a step on the side of melodrama. What’s more, Tolstoy’s rapturous picture or the authenticity of rural life struck me as tedious moralism (the ‘peasant’ knows real life, in the way us moderns don’t). Yes, clearly a book of significance, yet I came away a touch disappointed. I suspect I should have enjoyed it more if I’d read it, rather than listened to it – and perhaps this review reflects this fact.