The Death of Ivan Ilych and Other Stories (Penguin Classics)

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9780140445084: The Death of Ivan Ilych and Other Stories (Penguin Classics)

The Death of Ivan Ilyich is a masterly meditation on life and death, recounting the physical decline and spiritual awakening of a worldly, successful man who is faced with his own mortality. Only in his last agonizing moments does Ivan Ilyich finally confront his true nature, and gain the forgiveness of his wife and son for his cruelty towards them.

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Review:

Amazon Best Books of the Month, December 2009: To anyone for whom Leo Tolstoy's masterpieces War and Peace and Anna Karenina have stood as giants too daunting to scale, and equally to the many readers who have devoured those novels and are hungry for more, we offer The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories. Newly translated by the team of Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, who have enlivened the Russian classics for a new generation, this selection of 11 of his finest stories reveals a Tolstoy of many sides and unsurpassed storytelling talents. Along with smaller gems like "Alyosha the Pot," the collection features a handful of thrilling longer tales that each carry the power of a novel: the terrifying murderer's confession of "The Kreuzer Sonata," the breathlessly dramatic path of a single crime through dozens of lives in "The Forged Coupon," and the haunting account of the isolation of mortality in the legendary title story. Most revelatory of all for a modern reader is the final novella, and Tolstoy's final work, "Hadji Murat," the disturbingly contemporary story of a fiercely honorable Chechen warrior caught between local rivalries and the ambivalent reach of a decadent empire. --Tom Nissley

About the Author:

Count Leo Tolstoy was born in 1828 on the family estate of Yasnaya Polyana, in the Tula province. He took part in the Crimean war and after the defence of Sevastopol wrote The Sevastopol Sketches (1855-6), which established his literary reputation. He is the author, among many other works, of War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877) and A Confession (1879--82).

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