While the situation of Tolstoy's plot is alien to most people, his nuanced treatment of mortal life is familiar to all. Later in his life Tolstoy confessed that he earlier had seduced two young girls for his pleasure. Perhaps his own deeds and their horrible consequences motivated him to write this novel with special passion. It is a particularly moving tale.
Tolstoy's Resurrection is marvelous in the fullest sense of the word - a story so improbable that it must be a miraculous achievement.
First of all, Simon Vance is a wonderful reader. He does a brilliant job with the long Russian names which made this a pleasure to listen to. And the first half of the book I found completely captivating -- Tolstoy is an excellent writer and I loved his humor and detail. However, I'm afraid I lost interest during the second part of the book as I felt there were many new characters constantly being introduced who did not add to the story. I guess I was also a bit disappointed with the ending, but I guess it was a rather gutsy thing to write at the time.
“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” Steinbeck
Tolstoy's last major novel (1899) is his twilight indictment of the criminal justice and penal systems. The novel opens with the Russian prince Dmitri N. serving on a jury in a criminal trial of 3 peasants, a man and 2 women, accused of poisoning and robbing the deceased. Prince recognizes one of the accused women, named Ms. Maslova, as a young maid he deflowered when both were teens a decade earlier during his visit to his aunts' home. The head maid had fired Maslova, an educated peasant, after finding out she slept with the Prince. With nowhere else to turn, Maslova became a prostitute.
Although the jury finds Maslova not guilty, an error in the jury's verdict form leaves her technically guilty of an act contributing to the death, and thus subject to mandatory imprisonment. Believing his actions directly caused Maslova's wayward path ultimately leading to the imprisonment, Prince N sets out on a course to overturn her conviction and have her freed. In the process, he talks with numerous other prisoners and learns of much unfairness, perceived and real, both specific to cases and generally resulting from being raised in a bad environment.
Regrettably, this novel wanes about halfway through when Tolstoy "tells" much more than he "shows," the novel becoming more of a scathing sermon, full of homilies and exhortations seeming to champion a sort of anarchist view of Christianity whereby no person can sit in judgment of any other (all of us being sinners).
Tolstoy remains my favorite novelist ever. Like all other humans, he was not perfect.
The lesson on how to set personal ego aside and just do the right thing vs. the thing that other's projected expectation of the right thing.
Complicated yet simple plot.
The focus on the consequences for actions having a long-term effect.
The character development that Tolstoy pens reveals many human characteristics and exposes how perceptions of right and wrong, good and bad are woven into our pre-conceived notions of others.
I also enjoyed the various little sub-plots.
Katyusha Maslova - she shows vulnerability, nobility, work ethic, moral decay, and so many opposites in just one character.
Face the Extreme
Extreme the Face
I am waiting patiently for the best book on earth!!
This book has a lot of characters, but the all play out well.
I loved how the story all wove together.
This is a story for the ages! It shows instead of tells. Very powerful!
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