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The Death of Ivan Ilych | [Leo Tolstoy]

The Death of Ivan Ilych

This short but powerful novel was acclaimed by Vladimir Nabokov and Mahatma Gandhi as the greatest in the whole of Russian literature. It is one of Tolstoy's most celebrated pieces of late fiction. At the center of the story is an examination of the nature of both life and death and how man can come to terms with death's inevitability. It was widely acclaimed when it was published in 1886 and remains a compelling narrative today.
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Publisher's Summary

This short but powerful novel was acclaimed by Vladimir Nabokov and Mahatma Gandhi as the greatest in the whole of Russian literature. It is one of Tolstoy's most celebrated pieces of late fiction. At the center of the story is an examination of the nature of both life and death and how man can come to terms with death's inevitability. It was widely acclaimed when it was published in 1886 and remains a compelling narrative today.

The Death of Ivan Illyich is a small book with singular depth of insight and is considered to be one of the great explorations of death and dying in all of Western literature. No author in so few words summons so many emotions.

©1886 Public Domain; (P)1986 Jimcin Recordings

What the Critics Say

"Admirably read with a controlled and unsentimental voice that is perfect for this story....Tolstoy's striking word pictures and atmosphere are starkly delivered with an incredible match of voice and style that maximized their devastating effect." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (38 )
5 star
 (16)
4 star
 (10)
3 star
 (5)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
 (3)
Overall
4.2 (13 )
5 star
 (7)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
3.9 (11 )
5 star
 (7)
4 star
 (1)
3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Lisa Exeter, CA, USA 10-29-08
    Lisa Exeter, CA, USA 10-29-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
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    7
    2
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    Overall
    "Great quality without great quantity"

    Looking for something worth listening to but with a running time less than a work day? Well, here you go. Listen to it instead of watching a movie one night.

    Given the brevity of the work, the characterization and plot development are indubitably remarkable... Well I'm getting bored.

    Look, do you like Tolstoy? Fine, then I think you'll like this. Do you not know if you'll like Tolstoy? Perhaps this, being much easier to finish, is a better litmus than one of his more epic-length works.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Pickering, Ontario, Canada 03-28-12
    Jeff Pickering, Ontario, Canada 03-28-12 Member Since 2007

    50yrs old / audible member for 5 yrs library. 75% nonfiction, 15% classics and 10% fiction. History/Science/biography/Eng.18th cent fiction

    HELPFUL VOTES
    271
    ratings
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    305
    106
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    FOLLOWING
    37
    18
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "POWER-HOUSE OF RUSSIAN LIT."

    Dont let the small size of this book fool you, this is a masterpiece! Highly recommended!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    pk 10-27-11
    pk 10-27-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    26
    1
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    "A simple, compelling story"

    A sad bureaucrat wastes his life, dreads and then accepts his death.

    I rated the performance as 1 star not because of the narrator (who gave a fine reading), but because the quality of the sound was abysmal - muddy, and with fluctuations in volume. The latter chapters seemed to be contaminated with another track recorded at low volume, as though there was another story being whispered in the background.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael J. Przybyla Salt Lake City 04-20-09
    Michael J. Przybyla Salt Lake City 04-20-09 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    2
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    Overall
    "The Worst Book Ever"

    The story is about someone who has absolutely no redeeming qualities. He is dying, and he is worried. Seeing I could care less about the man, my only thoughts throughout the whole book were, "Hurry up and die!"
    As for the fact that the book was written by Tolstoy, I don't care - it is still a terrible book. I mostly listen to the classics. I love the classics. But this book reminds me of an acquaintance who was very proud of a drawing for which she paid $10,000. It was a pencil drawing that consisted of a mere two lines. It looked like a large nose. To me the drawing was worthless. A two year old could have drawn it. But this drawing was signed by Picasso. The signature was supposed to have made the drawing a masterpiece. It you are impressed by names, then you might be impressed by this story, but the story won't impress you.

    1 of 11 people found this review helpful
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