Referring back to my comments on Mark Helprin’s Wall Street Journal article, I would suggest that you forgo his political commentary and read his two books of short stories, Ellis Island and A Dove of the East. And on the subject of literary criticism, I’m in the midst of reading Anna Karenin for the first time in a long while. It is really amazingly good–so fresh it could have been written yesterday, except that nothing so good has been written in many years. A few nights ago in Alaska I had dinner with some Russians, and was reminded that the issues that Tolstoy wrote about long ago are, for the most part, the same ones that obsess Russians today. So if you want to escape from today’s dilemmas into a better world, or at least a better mind, you can’t do better than Anna Karenin. Its reputation as the best novel ever written doesn’t do it justice.
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