Last year I had to read this book for my french class at school. To be honest, the size of it really put me off and it took me a while to get into it. It's about 900 pages long. Once you get used to the style and the way the book is written, it's very hard to put down. The story is quite complex because it follows the lives of several couples. To cut a long story very short, it's about a woman called Anna Karenina who cheats on her husband and all the consequences it will have on her but also on the people around her.
It's very rich and it's easy to tell that Tolstoy was a very cultured person. In the book you will find several different languages (one of the reasons I respect this author). There's italian, english, french, german and, of course, russian. He also knew a lot about politics, economics and agriculture. You'll find multiple scenes questionning the political and economical system in Russia and other parts of Europe. There are also quite a few chapters dedicated to agriculture and it's evolution and traditions.
Above all though, this book is about true love and following your heart, but also about saving a mariage that's falling apart. It is honestly a very good read. The chick lit of the 19th century, a must for any romantic.
I also went to see the film that came out a few months ago. The one with Keira Knightley, Jude Law and Aaron Johnson. There have been many films about this book. I actually really liked it, it wasn't exactly like the book but if they had represented every detail it would have been about 8 hours long. It's a bit on the arty farty side, the whole thing is in some sort of theater, opera place and it takes a while to understand what's happening. I wouldn't recommend this version if you haven't read the book. I went with my sister who hadn't read it and she didn't understand half of what was going on but I thought it was quite a good representation.