The title story of this collection, a novella written by Tolstoy after the author's conversion to Christianity, tells the simple, affecting story of the main character's death and the ambitious, successful, and unreflective life that preceded it. Narrator George K. Wilson's characterizations are clear and compelling. He models the protagonist's angst, bewilderment, and agony skillfully, and renders other characters distinctly but without overemphasizing their differences. It's a well-balanced narration that is easy to follow and that brings home the emotional punch of Ivan Ilych's stirring last weeks, days, and moments. Other stories in this well-done set include "The Forged Coupon," "After the Dance," "My Dream," "There Are No Guilty People," and "The Young Tsar."
How, Tolstoy asks, does an unreflective man confront his one and only moment of truth? This novella 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.
Also included in this volume are "The Forged Coupon," "After the Dance," "My Dream," "There Are No Guilty People," and "The Young Tsar."
©1923 Public Domain; (P)2009 Tantor
"Written more than a century ago, Tolstoy's work still retains the power of a contemporary novel." (Publishers Weekly)
The story was drawn out and difficult to ascertain what the moral of the story was. The character names sounded very similar to each other so the story was a little hard to follow at times
Have very different names for the characters
Some of the other stories I was surprised when they ended...there was no definite conclusion.
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