Fantastic collection of stories, including The Death of Ivan Ilyich, The Kreutzer Sonata, and Hadji Murat among others Generally, I find it hard to rate a single author short story collection five stars because either the quality varies, or too many of the stories sound similar But with this collection, there are no duds, and there is also a wide variation in the types of stories Highly recommended. My edition of The Death of Ivan Ilych and Other Stories was the Vintage book, translated by Pevear and Volhokonsky It contains the following stories The Death of Ivan IlychThe Prisoner of the CaucasusThe Diary of a MadmanThe Kreutzer SonataThe DevilMaster and ManFather SergiusAfter the BallThe Forged CouponAlyosha the PotHadji Murat those that are underlined, I have reviewed separately follow the link for the review There are some definite repeated themes namely sex, death and religious redemption Mostly, the first leads to the second or the third As with any collection of stories, there are some I like than others I think my favourites would be Master and Man and The Forged Coupon I found Hadji Murat a bit of a slog. . What a great collection of Tolstoy s shorter fiction Here are my star ratings for each story novella The prisoner of the Caucasus 5The diary of a madman 3.5The death of Ivan Ilyich 5The Kreutzer sonata 5The devil 4 Master and man 4.5Father Sergius 5After the ball 3.5The forged coupon 3Alyosha the pot 3Hadji Murat 5I thought Father Sergius was the best, followed closely by Hadji Murat and Ivan Ilyich. 5 4 3.5 4 O 4.5 M.O 4.2 Tolstoy , Tolstoy Lev Nikolayevich. I have something to say, which, for lovers of literature, might be borderline blasphemous I read Tolstoy, and and He s okay Just okay He didn t rock my world He didn t change my life His prose is good, but not magnificent his characters are relatable, but not unforgettable his stories are interesting, but not quite compelling I didn t come away from these stories convinced, as so many are, that Tolstoy is the greatest writer who ever lived In fact, of the four great Russian writers I recall having read Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Turgenev, and Lermontov I would put Tolstoy in third place, in front of Turgenev, with Lermontov marginally better than him and Dostoyevsky leagues ahead of anyone else Granted, I am a Dostoyevsky fanboy, and I haven t read Tolstoy s two great novels Anna Karenina and War and Peace Maybe if I read either of those works, my tune would change dramatically, and I d be embarrassed for having written this review Maybe I m just a Philistine But I m a Philistine who calls them like he sees them There s an interesting variety to the stories in my edition There are war stories, like The Prisoner of the Caucasus and Hadji Murat there are meditations on death the final frontier of the soul s journey and our struggle to find peace and redemption in the face of it, in The Diary of a Madman and The Death of Ivan Ilyich there s an extensive diatribe against erm sex masquerading as a novella in The Kreutzer Sonata and there s a little common man hagiography called Alyosha the Pot , which, despite being only a few pages long, I found to be the most evocative work in the collection I m sorry, Tolstoyists Coke is better than Pepsi, Tupac is better than Biggie, and Dostoyevsky is better than Tolstoy Westside Ivan Ilych s life revolved around his career as a high court judge he takes his job very seriously However after he falls off a ladder, he soon discovers that he is going to die The Death of Ivan Ilyich is a novella that deals with the meaning of life in the face of death A masterpiece for Leo Tolstoy written after his religious conversion in the late 1870s.Something that was fascinating about The Death of Ivan Ilyich is the drastic change in writing style when comparing it to Anna Karenina and War and Peace I am not just referring to the length, but that does play a big part I have read somewhere that Tolstoy intentionally made Anna Karenina and War and Peace so long because he wanted to replicate life and the journey the characters face Allowing the reader to experience every decision and moral dilemma that the character is facing, exploring the growth or evolution of each and every person within the novels.The Death of Ivan Ilyich takes a focused approach, dealing with major questions revolving around the meaning of life, death and spirituality Leo Tolstoy had a major conversion in the late 1870s and the questions in this novel were the questions he was asking himself Whether or not Ivan Ilyich found the answers he was looking for is up to the reader but it is believed that Leo Tolstoy was still looking for the same answers well after finishing this novella.There is a lot of pain and torment that appears in this book, which reflects the authors search for answers and that is what really stood out for me Not only was I reading a spiritual existential struggle of the protagonist but Tolstoy s own feeling really came out within the pages This is what makes this a masterpiece that explores the tortured artist in great detail I don t want to say much , this is the type of book people have to read and make their own mind up about the themes presented, but it is worth reading.This review originally appeared on my blog The story of Ivan Ilyich was like wine it goes down smoothly, but leaves a biting, succulent and lasting impression The book is a deep and moving scrutiny of loss and absolution, in which the writer explores the dichotomy between the artificial and the authentic life This book is probably the best account of the physiological and psychological panic, a man feels when so close to his own death Ivan Ilych s life had been most simple and most ordinary and therefore most terrible Ivan Ilyich is the story of a respected, gregarious and a healthy middle aged court justice who suddenly sickens and dies He leaves behind a wife a woman Ivan disliked , two grown up children, and a few startled friends acquaintances whose reaction to his death range from better him than me to how will this affect my career prospects The novella examines the reactions of the wife, children and friends at Ivan s funeral, but the bulk of the story summarizes Ivan s life and his battle with death I ll probably get Shtabel s or Vinnikov s job now, thought Fyodor Vasilyevich also I ll have to request a transfer from Kaluga for my brother in law now, thought Pyotr Ivanovich the wife will be delighted And now she won t be able to say I ve never done anything for my relatives At the beginning of the book, Ivan s death is announced,the effects of which are clearly seen amongst the colleagues Who are Fyodor Vasilyevich and Pyotr Ivanovich Well, they are you and I Individuals who react to death in selfish, materialistic, and fearful ways Can it be that I have not lived as one ought suddenly came into his head But how not so, when I ve done everything as it should be done In the eyes of the world, Ivan Ilyich was the epitome of success but in his own eyes he was a failure Ilyich realizes that his entire hunt to befit himself into the shades of the society left him with absolutely no knowledge for coming to terms with death Ultimately, the values of society left Ilyich with nothing of any true worth, with no idea of what his life should be The modern society compels us to gloss over the reality of death Society s illusory and ludicrous norms force us to become strangers from life and death as well The very fact of the death of someone close to them aroused in all who heard about it, as always, a feeling of delight that he had died and they hadn t The brilliance of the book reflects when it brings light upon the dehumanizing aspects of our society The doctor s indifference towards the dying Ivan is nothing different than the insensitivity with which Ilyich treated the many that passed through his court during his career as a judge Here, Tolstoy reminds us about the inability to recognize that other people s lives are as significant as our own, is society s greatest ill And suddenly, it became clear to me that all this should not exist Not only that it should not exist, but that it does not exist, and if this does not exist, then there is no death or fear, and the former rending in me is no , and I am no longer afraid of anything Here the light shown fully upon me, and I became what I am At the very end Ilyich glimpses the joy of an authentic life and warns the reader of the dangers of living an unawakened life Ivan s last breath hopes that we can experience than just a brief minute of this joy Therefore, live fully Life is itself a memento mori and death is the proof reminding us that only by accepting our death can we hope to live an authentic life According to Tolstoy, we must go against the grain and contemplate what the value of our lives can be when they will eventually end in death, if we are to find any meaning in a society that has taken so much of it away from us. Hailed As One Of The World S Supreme Masterpieces On The Subject Of Death And Dying, The Death Of Ivan Ilyich Is The Story Of A Worldly Careerist, A High Court Judge Who Has Never Given The Inevitability Of His Death So Much As A Passing Thought But One Day Death Announces Itself To Him, And To His Shocked Surprise He Is Brought Face To Face With His Own Mortality How, Tolstoy Asks, Does An Unreflective Man Confront His One And Only Moment Of Truth This Short Novel Was The Artistic Culmination Of A Profound Spiritual Crisis In Tolstoy S Life, A Nine Year Period Following The Publication Of Anna Karenina During Which He Wrote Not A Word Of Fiction A Thoroughly Absorbing And, At Times, Terrifying Glimpse Into The Abyss Of Death, It Is Also A Strong Testament To The Possibility Of Finding Spiritual Salvation
commonly Leo Tolstoy in Anglophone countries was a Russian writer who primarily wrote novels and short stories Later in life, he also wrote plays and essays His two most famous works, the novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina, are acknowledged as two of the greatest novels of all time and a pinnacle of realist fiction Many consider Tolstoy to have been one of the world s greatest novelists Tolstoy is equally known for his complicated and paradoxical persona and for his extreme moralistic and ascetic views, which he adopted after a moral crisis and spiritual awakening in the 1870s, after which he also became noted as a moral thinker and social reformer.His literal interpretation of the ethical teachings of Jesus, centering on the Sermon on the Mount, caused him in later life to become a fervent Christian anarchist and anarcho pacifist His ideas on nonviolent resistance, expressed in such works as The Kingdom of God Is Within You, were to have a profound impact on such pivotal twentieth century figures as Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.
- 304 pages
- The Death of Ivan Ilych and Other Stories
- Leo Tolstoy
- 14 June 2019 Leo Tolstoy