The Opening Line of Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

The first line in Anna Karenina, an 1878 novel written by Russian author, Leo Tolstoy, reads:

All happy families resemble one another; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

Tolstoy opens his nearly 900-page book with this bleak sentence to lure readers into a tale of marriage, love, betrayal and family dynamics. The opening line of Anna Kerenina introduces readers to the story of Anna Kerenina, with whom Count Vronsky persuades to have an affair. Over eight parts, the novel introduces additional characters who mirror similar struggles.

This opening line offers readers the chance to explore what truly makes families happy or unhappy and how such feelings can manifest and impact exterior relationships and life choices.

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