What Are Words For?
Last summer I came down with a mean case of Why-Certainly-I-Read-Classic-Literature-itis and I cracked open Anna Karenina. I went into it sure that the 10,000 Russian names, many of them variations of each other, would be too much for me, but I came out the other side a little shell-shocked. Mark my words, that Tolstoy fellow is going places.
There are a lot of important lessons in Anna Karenina. “Wow, tuberculosis is bad,” for example, and, “Perhaps we could all be more careful around trains.” But the one thing that really affected me is how every single main character is trilingual. They switch between Russian, French, and English without notice and no one ever says, “Hold up. I actually only speak one extremely complicated language.”