What was Chekhov's favorite novel? What was Bunin's, Nabokov's? The answer to all three questions is Anna Karenina. Chekhov once remarked that in comparison to such full-blooded women as Tolstoy’s Anna all of Turgenev’s heroines are bland and insipid.
Once, while rushing by train from the south of Russia to the bedside of his brother Aleksandr, who was thought to have typhus, Chekhov spent the whole long journey reading Anna Karenina, and in a letter he later noted that at this time of emotional turmoil he was consoled on the train by “dear sweet Anna.”