"That Creating Anna Karenina is a major contribution to Tolstoy scholarship makes it no less of a delight to read. Blaisdell's passion for the subject, and his always-surprising discoveries about the great man and his creation, kept me turning the pages unstoppably. This is a wonderful book."
– Ian Frazier, author of Travels in Siberia, staff writer at The New Yorker
“Captivating. How did Anna Karenina evolve from a trivial high-society adulteress, whom Tolstoy despised, into one of the deepest, most sensitive tragic heroines in all of literature? What happened inside Tolstoy to condition this metamorphosis? Creating Anna Karenina is a worthy companion to the novel.”
– Janet Fitch, Los Angeles Review of Books
In its study of the comings and goings of the Tolstoy household at the time of the novel’s composition, Creating Anna Karenina asks if one of the world’s greatest novels was in fact just as much a product of everyday minutia—like who stops by for a visit with what kind of gossip to tell—as it was the culmination of long-simmering ideas about morality and desire.
– The New Republic
A fuller understanding of any work—and especially of its creation—requires the resurrection of its creator and his milieu. Blaisdell manages to do precisely that.
– Boris Dralyuk, Executive Editor, Los Angeles Review of Books, from the Foreword
"Despite scores of biographies in dozens of languages, we know remarkably little about Tolstoy in the 1870s, a decade when the writer conceived and wrote Anna Karenina, one of the world’s best-know and best-loved novels. In Creating Anna Karenina, Bob Blaisdell is the first to provide a granular, stop-action, magnifying-glass-level look at the creation of this astonishingly great book; Blaisdell conjures the novelist’s world, and painstakingly reveals the overlaps with the world of the novel. Tolstoy breathed in his world, and exhaled the novel."
– Professor Michael Denner, Editor of Tolstoy Studies Journal
A riveting account of Tolstoy’s composition of Anna Karenina. Tolstoy comes to life as a complex individual defying easy classification. Tolstoy’s fans will relish learning from, and, occasionally, arguing with Blaisdell’s opinions. This passionate book is almost impossible to put down.
– Publishers Weekly