Synopses & Reviews
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."
Six stories, including the titular meditation on mortality, from the celebrated author of War and Peace and Anna Karenina.
About the Author
Leo Tolstoy was born in 1828 at Yasnaya Polyana in central Russia and educated privately. He studied Oriental languages and law at the University of Kazan, then led a life of dissipation until 1851, when he went to the Caucasus and joined an artillery regiment. He took part in the Crimean War, and on the basis of this experience wrote The Sevastopol Stories, which confirmed his tenuous reputation as a writer. After a period in St. Petersburg and abroad, where he studied educational methods for use in his school for peasant children at Yasnaya Polyana, Tolstoy married Sofya Behrs in 1862. The next fifteen years was a period of great happiness: the couple had thirteen children, and Tolstoy managed his estates, continued his educational projects, and wrote War and Peace and Anna Karenina. A Confession marked a spiritual crisis in Tolstoy's life; he became an extreme moralist, and in a series of pamphlets written after 1880, he expressed his rejection of state and church, indictment of the weaknesses of the flesh, and denunciation of private property. He published his last novel, Resurrection, in 1900. Tolstoy's teaching earned him many followers at home and abroad, but also much opposition, and in 1901 he was excommunicated by the Russian Orthodox Church. He died in 1910. George K. Wilson has narrated over one hundred fiction and nonfiction audiobook titles, from Thomas L. Friedman to Thomas Pynchon, and has won several AudioFile Earphones Awards. He spent ten years in broadcast news, including for the American Forces Radio and Television Service and for rock radio in San Diego and Los Angeles. An American Academy of Dramatic Arts, West, graduate, his acting career includes stage, film, television, commercials, improvisational comedy, and stand-up. George has written and performed in over five hundred nationally syndicated short news satire features for public radio and NPR and has received a national Corporation for Public Broadcasting Gold Award for Best Public Service Program. He has also scripted and hosted corporate videos for Sony, Merck, IBM, and Price Waterhouse. He is currently working on a suspense short story collection and a thriller novel.