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8 Best Books like Anna Karenina

“Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy is considered a masterpiece. The 1877 Russian classic addresses love, society, morality, and the human condition. The novel’s complex characters and deep psychological insights have shaped literature. Those who liked “Anna Karenina” and want more stories about interesting people and social themes will love these. This article will discuss eight works that are comparable to “Anna Karenina” yet have different views and compelling stories.

“Madame Bovary” by Flaubert

Gustave Flaubert’s “Madame Bovary” is often compared to “Anna Karenina.” Both works explore the effects of intense love within social conventions. Emma Bovary, like Anna Karenina, is multifaceted and seeks pleasure beyond her marriage and motherhood. Flaubert’s precise writing and investigation of Emma’s inner anguish make “Madame Bovary” as captivating as “Anna Karenina.”

Edith Wharton’s “The Age of Innocence”

“The Age of Innocence” by Edith Wharton addresses love and social expectations in 19th-century New York. Newland Archer, like Anna Karenina, struggles with forbidden impulses and social norms. This novel complements Tolstoy’s work due to Wharton’s astute observation of high society and her superb representation of the time’s oppressive standards. The effects of social pressure and sacrifices to conform are explored.

Thomas Hardy’s “Tess of the d’Urbervilles”

“Tess of the d’Urbervilles” by Thomas Hardy has similar themes to “Anna Karenina.” The novel follows Tess Durbeyfield, a poor young lady caught in a web of love, desire, and social expectations. Like Anna, Tess’s sad path is about finding happiness in a cruel world. Hardy’s stunning depictions of rural England and investigation of fate and morality make this work a classic.

“Effi Briest” by Fontane

“Theodor Fontane’s “Effi Briest” is less well-known but as powerful, worthy of distinction alongside “Anna Karenina.” The tale concerns young Effi Briest, who marries an older man in 19th-century Germany. Effi’s marriage suffocates her, resulting to forbidden love and social vengeance like Anna Karenina’s. Fontane’s sharp social satire and investigation of women’s societal restrictions make “Effi Briest” a must-read for Tolstoy fans.

George Eliot “Middlemarch”

George Eliot’s “Middlemarch” is a massive Victorian novel with deep themes like “Anna Karenina.” A panoramic perspective of Middlemarch and its different residents is in the novel. Eliot, like Tolstoy, explores her characters’ morality, ambitions, and weaknesses. The story’s intertwined lives and complex ties weave an informative and moving human experience.

“War and Peace” by Tolstoy

It may seem easy to propose another Leo Tolstoy novel, yet “War and Peace” earns its place for its thematic similarities and unprecedented complexity. Like “Anna Karenina,” “War and Peace” examines interpersonal interactions in the context of Napoleonic conflicts and Russian nobility. The novel’s protagonists struggle with love, ambition, and purpose in a world of violence and uncertainty. “War and Peace” is a classic that gives readers another chance to discover Tolstoy’s talent.

Edith Wharton’s “The House of Mirth”

With “The House of Mirth,” Edith Wharton returns to our list to explore New York’s aristocratic society at the turn of the 20th century. Lily Bart, a lovely young woman, navigates her time’s complex social network. Lily, like Anna Karenina, is stuck by society and must make tough decisions about her future. Wharton’s social critique and examination of ambition and materialism make this work an interesting companion to “Anna Karenina.”

“Crime and Punishment” by Dostoevsky

Thematically similar to “Anna Karenina,” Fyodor Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment” explores the human mind and moral difficulties. Raskolnikov, a young intellectual, murders and struggles with remorse and repercussions. Raskolnikov’s existential crisis and inner agony are important themes, like Anna Karenina’s. Dostoevsky’s examination of human nature and good and evil makes “Crime and Punishment” thought-provoking.


If you’re like “Anna Karenina,” which explores love, society, morality, and the human condition, these eight classics will satiate your thirst for rich and intricate storylines. These stories address human feeling and the implications of decisions made within society expectations, from Emma Bovary and Effi Briest’s impassioned conflicts to Newland Archer and Raskolnikov’s moral issues. If you like Tolstoy’s classic, each of these works is a masterpiece worth reading.

Cary Grant
Cary Grant
Cary Grant, the enigmatic wordsmith hailing from the UK, is a literary maestro known for unraveling the intricacies of life's myriad questions. With a flair for delving into countless niches, Grant captivates readers with his insightful perspectives on issues that resonate with millions. His prose, a symphony of wit and wisdom, transcends boundaries, offering a unique lens into the diverse tapestry of human curiosity. Whether exploring the complexities of culture, unraveling philosophical conundrums, or addressing the everyday mysteries that perplex us all, Cary Grant's literary prowess transforms the ordinary into extraordinary, making him a beacon of intellectual exploration.


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