The references to Anna Karenin in Ada, which begin in the very first sentence of the book, help to explain the strange goings-on with electricity which occur throughout Ada. The absence of electricity from Antiterra indicates a spiritual poverty. Antiterra is hellish not just because of its inhabitants' brutality but because of its utter lack of spirituality, which is replaced by nostalgia and sex. The self-centered, incestuous nature of Van's love affair and his memories ensure that he can neither recapture the past nor create anything new. The failure of Van's paradise and the sterility of his attempt to regain it are encapsulated in the occurrences of electricity in the novel.