Hailed as one of the world's supreme masterpieces on the subject of death and dying, Leo Tolstoy's "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 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."More
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."
"Written more than a century ago, Tolstoy's work still retains the power of a contemporary novel." (Publishers Weekly)
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