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The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Storiesby Richard Pevear
Synopses & Reviews
Liza — Riding a Whirlwind
For every star that rises, another must fall. That was a law as old as Hollywood. Judy knew it — it was, after all, the theme of A Star Is Born — and so did everyone else. But how could she have guessed that she herself was destined to stumble? Or that, through a cruel and unsparing irony, her own spectacular decline would be matched, headline for headline, by the no less stunning ascent of her own daughter? For that was, indeed, what happened. Liza's a Girl Riding a Whirlwind, declared one admiring paper, and while the folks on Rockingham Avenue were scrounging for dollars to buy chili, a fresh, slim Liza was pictured on the front page of the New York Daily News, cavorting on a Riviera beach as she prepared to wow an audience in Paris.
Liza had, in fact, been preparing to wow audiences all her life. Making her screen debut when she was only two and a half — she appeared for a few seconds at the end of In the Good Old Summertime — she had virtually grown up in M-G-M's magic factory, spending much of her time there even after Judy was fired. She sat in Vincente's lap as he rode his director's boom; she made friends with the actors and technicians; and she spent rapt hours in studio rehearsal halls, watching Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse practice their routines. At home she had a more convenient model, and late at night Liza would sneak down the stairs to hear her mother sing at parties. Years later, one guest could still recall her intense dark eyes, not merely observing, but staring, studying and memorizing her mother's every gesture and movement.
Only seventeen when she appeared in a 1963 Off-Broadway revival of Best Foot Forward, Liza was on Broadway itself at nineteen, winning a Tony, the theater world's Academy Award, for her performance in another musical, Flora, the Red Menace. Can you believe that's Liza up there? Judy asked, in a happy daze of awe and wonder, at Flora's opening. Then to Donald Brooks, the show's innovative young costume designer, she excitedly whispered, We did that You got her up there looking the way she does. And I got her up there because I'm her mother and conceivably her inspiration — the heck with her motivation. Separate careers in movies and nightclubs followed, and before she had even reached her majority, Liza was earning, according to one estimate, $400,000 a year.
Judy liked to brag that she had spared Liza the hardships she herself had suffered as a child. True enough, but she had burdened her firstborn with a different set of miseries, responsibilities so heavy that they would have crushed most adults. In a strange reversal of roles, Liza became almost a mother to her mother. She was the one who helped to manage the staff on Mapleton Drive. She was often the one who made sure that Joey and Lorna got off to school on time and that they were fed when they came home. It was as though Liza had become the mom and Judy the child, said Mike Selsman, one of Judy's press agents. It was sweet, kind of nice to watch, but a little disturbing to someone like me, who had come from an ordered background.
Liza's heaviest burden, however, was the maintenance of a permanent death watch: it was her duty, she believed, to protect her mother from herself, to ensure that she did not kill herself. The only girl in Los Angeles with her own stomach pump, Liza probably saved Judy's life on several occasions, climbing in her bathroom window when she suspected she had taken an overdose, and once even holding on to her feet when she was threatening to jump from a hotel window. In public, Liza tried to make light of such horrific chores. But the emotional cost was staggering. It's just so terrible because I love her so much, she confessed in a shaky voice to one friend. And I don't know what
A new translation of the writer's most significant works of short fiction with autobiographical and moral themes, including "Hadji Murat" and "The Devil."
A vibrant translation of Tolstoy’s most important short fiction by the award-winning translators of War and Peace.
Here are eleven masterful stories from the mature author, some autobiographical, others moral parables, and all told with the evocative power that was Tolstoy’s alone. They include “The Prisoner of the Caucasus,” inspired by Tolstoy's own experiences as a soldier in the Chechen War, “Hadji Murat,” the novella Harold Bloom called “the best story in the world,” “The Devil,” a fascinating tale of sexual obsession, and the celebrated “The Death of Ivan Ilyich,” an intense and moving examination of death and the possibilities of redemption.
Pevear and Volokhonsky’s translation captures the richness, immediacy, and multiplicity of Tolstoy’s language, and reveals the author as a passionate moral guide, an unflinching seeker of truth, and ultimately, a creator of enduring and universal art.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
Together, Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky have translated works by Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, and Gogol. They were twice awarded the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize (for their versions of Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov and Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina), and their translation of Dostoevsky’s Demons was one of three nominees for the same prize. They are married and live in France.
Table of Contents
The Prisoner of the Caucasus
The Diary of a Madman
The Death of Ivan Ilyich
The Kreutzer Sonata
Master and Man
After the Ball
The Forged Coupon
Alyosha the Pot
Glossary of Caucasian Mountaineer Words
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