I read novels for different purposes. Example, Anna Karenina is a novel where we must become a traveler searching and understanding the Russian milieu, people, and history that Tolstoy presents to us. Therefore, when I read this novel, I want to be drowned in all the majestic realism that Tolstoy has to offer. Plot of the novel itself is also important, but I tend to see it as a vehicle rather than a picture of life. We let the plot takes us around Russia, but it is the mimesis that we must assimilate into our aesthetic experience. The fictional world itself must speak the author’s aesthetic taste, ideologies, and moral values. D.H Lawrence said that we must “trust the author’s text, not the author” for the text itself is a living creative entity that is seeking perfection from the readers.
Why must we read Tolstoy? We read Tolstoy the same reasons we read all the great imaginative works of our time; from A. Samad Said's war opus, all the way to the controversial Faisal Tehrani. We read to experience life, we read them to understand life, and we read them to find ourselves in life.