Synopses & Reviews
A masterpiece of psychological realism on the subject of death and dying, this thoroughly absorbing glimpse into the abyss of death is also a strong testament to the possibility of finding spiritual salvation. Ivan Ilyich is a worldly careerist, a high-court judge who has never given a thought to the inevitability of his death. 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? The first part of the story portrays Ilyich's colleagues and family after he has died as they discuss the effect of his death on their careers and fortunes. In the second part, Tolstoy reveals the life of the man who was the perfect bureaucrat and who treasured his orderly day-to-day routine. Diagnosed with an incurable illness, he at first denies the truth. Reviewing his life, he realizes he has ignored all his inner yearnings to do what was expected of him.