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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  48,177 Ratings  ·  2,170 Reviews
Hailed as one of the world's supreme masterpieces on the subject of death and dying, 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, T ...more
Paperback, Bantam Classic Reissue, 134 pages
Published May 1st 2004 by Bantam Classic (first published 1886)
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Ashley Tolstoy has been translated into every major language including English.
Doaa "it" may be refers to death .... which is inevitably ... or deeply pain in his own self.
The whole comment is according to my own viewpoint.

Community Reviews

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Jun 29, 2015 Jenn(ifer) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Schopenhauer
Recommended to Jenn(ifer) by: Virginia Woolf

"“Death is over," he said to himself. "There is no more death.”

When I picked this book up at a library book sale, I did so without expectation that I would actually enjoy reading it. See, I had mistakenly given up on the masters of Russian literature due to the struggles I had reading a particular novel (I’m looking at you Brothers Karamazov!), assuming they were all inaccessible and there was no point in expending anymore energy trying to make sense of books with characters that go by 3 differe
Jun 29, 2015 Dolors rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those not afraid to know

Today I turned the last page of Banville’s Eclipse and was literally hit by the profundity of a book that surreptitiously echoes the mastery of the classic tragedies. My pupils dilated until they watered when I bumped into this paragraph:

“As a boy I knew the stars, and loved to speak their names over to myself, in celestial litany, Venus, Betelgeuse, Aldebaran, the Bears, great and lesser. How I loved the coldness of those lights, their purity, their remoteness from us and all we do and all that
It is a widespread stereotype that Russian classics are mostly long, tedious, boring, a burden to get through, but one only needs to read a short book like The Death of Ivan Ilych in order to be proven wrong. A philosophical, in its beautiful writing almost lyrical account of a dying man's life, Tolstoy will make you think about your own mortality, about happiness, sorrow and most likely your own life as well.

“They had supper and went away, and Ivan Ilych was left alone with the consciousness
Petra X
Socrates said that an unexamined life was not worth living. In Kafka's The Metamorphosis poor Gregor Samsa is transformed into a being that cannot take part in the daily round of society and becomes more and more sidelined and ignored by those around him. This book, the Death of Ivan Ilych, has both of these notions contained within it's theme.

Ivan Ilyich is dying. As he grows sicker and fits less in with his fair weather friends and family and their preoccupation with their social life, they le
Great classic short story by Tolstoy examines a man's reflection on his life as he nears death.....

I am so glad that one of my GR groups chose this short story by Leo Tolstoy as a book-of-the-month. I had not heard of The Death of Ivan Ilych prior to this selection and it was an interesting and impactful read.

Contrary to what you may expect from the title, this is not a violent read or a tearjerker. It is a story of a man who has lived a life -- perhaps not to its fullest. He has been consumed
Franco  Santos
May 03, 2016 Franco Santos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Espectacular libro. Una pequeña joya que nos ha legado este escritor ruso al que, sin ninguna duda, volveré. Tolstói logra capturar la soledad, la desesperación, la decadencia de la mente y la pérdida de manera extraordinaria. Si se quiere ser eterno, es menester ser cuidadoso con lo que se deja. La eternidad solo es alcanzable en la vida de otros.

¿Lo malo? Demasiado corto. Quería que durase más.

En fin, el mejor libro que he leído sobre la muerte. Obra necesaria para entender un poco más de la
If you are bothered by your own mortality then consider yourself forewarned. It's not just the thought of dying much too young, just when you have gained a level of accomplishment, but also to die in agony, slowly. I've seen it much to close in my life, and to read such a vivid account was difficult. The power of writing, of good writing, can take you many places, even places you don't want to go.
Aug 31, 2016 Nishat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic, read-in-2015
"Where shall I be when I am no more?"

Some will argue and say that the end of everything earthily and unearthily, comes with death and neither darkness nor light can remain afterwards. And the others will say that death comes with the final awakening of the soul. For a fact, this debate will go on and bodies will fall to the ground like leaves do when the wind moves. And we shall know at least to satisfy our quest that the unseen has always been feared for no matter what.

Can a sinful life ever me
Oct 14, 2012 Rowena rated it it was amazing
The more Tolstoy I read, the more I appreciate his literary genius and his philosophic thoughts. This was a relatively short book dealing with Ivan Ilyich's realization of his impending death. His life had been mediocre at best and he realizes he hadn't really been happy and had been trying to live an "ideal" life. What awful thoughts to realize when one is so close to death!
Jun 30, 2012 Lou rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, june-read
You are transported to the world of Ivan and walk with him to his last moments at deaths door. A story of the terror of death and Ivan's fear of dying, his concern and sorrow for his families witnessing of his howling and decline. Suffering realizes joy of youth and memories of the best of days, while he is in this process of death the solitude brings him to doors of gone memories of happiness. How our daily trappings take us away from finer and truer happier moments of life, a time lost so valu ...more
Apr 19, 2015 Mahdi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

این داستان بلند را باید حتماً خواند. این را و داستان بلند دیگر "پدر سرگئی" را. مضمون کلی آن هم تقریباً مشابه این داستان و تقریباً مشابه سایر آثار بزرگ تولستوی، از جمله جنگ و صلح و آنا کارنیناست. حرفی که این داستان بلند می خواهد بزند، گم شدن "معنای انسان بودن" در میان روزمرگی هاست. شخصیت اصلی، یک کارمند موفق است و ترقی های زیادی در اداره اش کرده. اما وقتی با مرگ محتوم رو به رو می شود، تازه می فهمد که هرگز زندگی نکرده است و سراسر عمرش را به همین ترقی بی معنی و کار بی معنی تر سپری کرده است. آن گاه،
Nov 08, 2015 Florencia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any human being
Shelves: favorites, russian
I read this novella a couple of weeks ago and I did not write a review right away; I had to put my thoughts in order (they rarely are but, oh well). That only happens after reading an amazing book, brilliantly written, that deals with the human condition like Dostoyevsky's keen eye can deal. This book is about life itself, life in its most virtuous and degrading glory. This masterpiece has no more than 120 pages, but it manages to show many perspectives on different issues concerning the human n ...more
Mike Puma

A mini-review not intended for the easily offended (i.e., there’s a dirty part)

But first, Constance Garnett. Is it possible that this woman was the best and worst thing to happen to all Russian public domain titles? She seems to have translated everything Russian that was in print at the time of her demise. Given that her translations are, likely, the stuff much academic criticism is based on, one has to wonder what could have been. There is a vague sort of missed opportunity that hovers over t

Sep 22, 2016 Fabian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Ivan Ilych's life had been most ordinary and therefore most terrible."

This beautiful line is a synopsis of what all of this boils down to. More than likely, in my pre-Emo high school years, had I read all 52 grueling pages of "The Death of Ivan Ilych", and truly understood its exquisite prolonged lingering around the very morbid notion of death, it would have been a brick in my fo(und/rm)ation. Sadly, nowadays I am way more bubbly and optimistic than ever, so I had a healthy distance between my
Farnoosh Farahbakht
هر چند نام کتاب با "مرگ" همراه است و داستان نیز با "مرگ" شروع و پایان می پذیرد ،بیش از هر چیز خواننده را به تفکر درباره "زندگی" و بازنگری آن ترغیب می کند.کتاب بسیار زیبا و ملموس زندگی، افکار و احساسات شخص رودررو با مرگ و خودخواهی و غفلت اطرافیان نسبت به این موضوع را به تصویر می کشد."ایوان ایلیچ" که در ظاهر و بر اساس بسیاری از معیارهای امروزی انسان موفقی است در زمان رویارویی با مرگ با دیده تردید به هر آنچه روزی برایش مایه فخر و مباهات بود می نگرد و درمی یابد چطور معنای زندگی را در میان روزمرگی و ...more
May 22, 2014 Komal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
"As soon as man lives, he is old enough to die."

I have now understood the reasons and significance behind the categorization of Count Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy as among one of the finest literary figures, in Russia and elsewhere. Leo Tolstoy penned this book in the year 1886--shortly before he began to pursue religion and teachings of the life after this one. The Death of Ivan Ilyich is a short novella and it faces boldly the materialistic issues and philosophical meanderings tied to the concept
Stephen P
Jul 09, 2015 Stephen P rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, novella
Tolstoy faces us square, eye to eye, with death, with life; real life versus false life. We are put there as no other writer has done. Absenting dense complex prose he allows the story to carry its full weight and tell itself. Tolstoy wastes no time nor a word in bringing to bold life Ivan Ilych’s journey from the safety of a conventional life to facing what that life sought to hide from. By hiding from death it also hid from life. He glazes a mirror and polishes the clarity of its sheen. It ref ...more
Jul 13, 2016 Carmo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russos, bib-p
Uma pedrada no charco das nossas consciências que vem acordar os nossos medos perante a doença, a incapacidade e a morte.
O presságio da morte traz consigo uma solidão opressiva, uma impotência e uma revolta que ninguém à volta do doente pode aliviar. Perante a fatalidade surgem as inevitáveis perguntas:
-Porquê eu? Porquê agora? A verdade é pode acontecer a cada um de nós em qualquer momento. Não queremos é pensar nisso, como se o simples facto de não pensar, seja suficiente para que não aconte
Nov 04, 2015 Teresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
teresa morreu…
os colegas animam-se com a oportunidade de promoção por sucessão…
o conjugue preocupa-se em aproveitar todas as oportunidades de receber subsídios, pensões,…
mas, primeiro, há que passar pela maçada da cerimónia dos pêsames, velório e funeral.

teresa nasceu, cresceu, estudou, trabalhou, casou, foi mãe…

teresa está a viver a sua morte…
um acidente, ao colocar cortinados na casa nova, causa-lhe um problema renal que a arrasta para uma morte lenta, dolorosa e solitária.
O sofrimento é atro
Sep 24, 2015 Lyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just as David Allen Coe wrote the perfect Country and Western song, so might this be the perfect Russian short story / novella.

Tolstoy has all the pertinent Russian elements: death, misery, estrangement, corrupt aristocracy, worthless professional class, strong and noble peasantry metaphorically and actually carrying the rich on their backs, guilt and a moment of clarity before the end.

Dec 30, 2014 Jibran rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
For those scared of the size of Tolstoy's stellar works like 'War and Peace' and 'Anna Karenina', this novella may be a good starting point as an introduction to the art of Tolstoy. Set in imperial Russia at a time when every aspiring person seemed to measure their success through their rank or office in the Russian civil service, it is an excellent critique of the elite's aspirations, the suffocating formality of their lifestyles, of their being beholden to positions and job titles.

At the same
(review in English below)

Agora já posso dizer que li alguma coisa do Tolstoi, mas não fiquei impressionada.

Encontrei algumas semelhanças de estilo com Dostoievski, que li também pela primeira vez há pouco tempo, mas não me fascinou como este. Talvez o facto de esta obra ser praticamente um conto tenha contribuído para que eu não me sentisse tão envolvida.

De qualquer modo, achei interessante, mais uma vez me surpreendi com o estilo simples e acessível (como já tinha acontecido com Dostoievski) e
Depois de me estrear nos russos com Nabokov e de me ter rendido a Dostoievski, chegou a vez de Tolstoi.
"A Morte de Ivan Ilitch" é um romance sobre a morte previsível e por vezes esperada, que o autor contrasta com a vida "mal vivida". Sempre me deixei fascinar por reflexões sobre a morte, tenho até uma mão cheia de autores preferidos no que toca a esta temática, as sensações, o tabu, a certeza de que todos terão a sua vez, é assustadoramente fascinante.

Tolstoi expõe o martírio de Ivan Ilitch aqu
Oct 07, 2014 Sophie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Το ότι ο Τολστόι ήταν σπουδαίος λογοτέχνης το ήξερα ανέκαθεν, παρόλα αυτά δεν είχα διαβάσει ποτέ διήγημά του. Ο πολυαγαπημένος μας συγγραφέας, λοιπόν, κινείται με τον ίδιο δεξιοτεχνικό τρόπο σε μια διαφορετική του μυθιστορήματος φόρμα, πιο περιορισμένη, περνάει το ίδιο έντονα μηνύματα, για τη ζωή και την ουσία της, για την ανάγκη της καλύτερης διαχείρισής της, ώστε να μη μοιάζει με θάνατο. Εντούτοις, οι χαρακτήρες του διηγήματος είναι άρτια και σε βάθος ψυχογραφημένοι, πολυδιάστατοι, με τα λάθη ...more
Ludgero Cardoso
Dec 30, 2015 Ludgero Cardoso rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Meu Deus. Fiquei com vontade de me deitar no chão e chorar em posição fetal. Não por causa da dor que o protagonista atravessa por enfrentar a morte, ou por outro motivo relacionado com ele, mas sim pela minha própria vida. Terminei a leitura com a sensação que somos todos Ivan Ilitch e isso é perturbador. Este livro tem tanto de nós, que se transforma num murro no estômago. A vida é efémera e deve ser vivida da forma que queremos e não da forma que achamos que devemos viver.
It is the epitome of a true classic. It is timeless. It is as immediately relevant now as it was when it was published 130 years ago.
Here is the unexamined Life, with its strivings, hypocrisies, bargains, illusions upon illusions, and its screens stopping thoughts of Death.
Then Life is introduced to Death. The screens are relentlessly stripped away, revealing…nothing? “There is no explanation! Agony, death… .What for?”
This is why I read.
Jun 13, 2015 Mohammad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
مرگ ایوان ایلیچ
ناگهان قضیه به شکل کاملاً متفاوتی خود را نمایاند. ایوان ایلیچ به خود گفت: «آپاندیس! کلیه! مسئله آپاندیس یا کلیه نیست، مسئله زندگی و... مرگ است. بله، در اندرون من حیات بود و اکنون این حیات دارد میرود و من هم نمیتوانم جلویش را بگیرم.» (ص66) ر

مرگ ایوان ایلیچ شاید تاثیرگذارترین و تکان دهنده ترین داستانی بود که من تاکنون خوانده ام. تولستوی در این اثر، که متعلق به نیمه دوم زندگی اوست (یعنی پس از تحول شبه مذهبی و فاصله گرفتنش از آثار قبلی: آناکارنینا و جنگ و صلح)، فضایی به غایت واقع گرا،
Sep 26, 2015 Fatemeh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
کتاب رو خیلی وقت پیش خونده بودم . آنقدری که چیزی جز نامش به خاطرم نبود . وقتی دوست عزیزی برای زمان فراغتم پیشنهادش داد از وسوسه دوباره خواندنش نتوانستم بگذرم .
داستان با خواندن اعلامیه فوت ایوان ایلیچ در جمع همکارانش شروع می شود و در همان بخش شرحی مختصر از دوستان و همسرش و واکنش آن ها در برابر مرگ ایوان ایلیچ به ما می دهد . بقیه داستان بطور مختصر به زندگی ایوان ایلیچ و بطور مفصل به سه ماه و جهار هفته و سه روزی که با بیماری دست به گریبان است می پردازد .
شرح مترجم را در پایان کتاب خواندم و یک سخنر
Alice Poon
Nov 01, 2015 Alice Poon rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics

I had expected this novella to be all dark and depressing. But it turned out to be dark with a silver lining. Through telling a story about the life of a Russian judge, who falls ill at the height of his career and life accomplishment, Tolstoy leads the reader into the inner struggles of the protagonist as he is confronted with the threat of death. The writing is simple and calm but has an intimacy and immediacy about it that it rattles one's nerves and fibers. The questions raised about life an
Γιώρη Μπέλκος
Ειναι αξιοθαύμαστο το πως περιγράφει ο συγγραφέας την πορεία αυτού του ανθρώπου προς το θάνατο. Μόνο ενας άνθρωπος που το εχει ζήσει θα μπορούσε να το περιγράψει τόσο παραστατικά. Το διάβασα και μεσα στη μεγάλη ευδομαδα και το αισθανόμουν ακόμα πιο έντονα. Ειναι μια σπουδή στο το ανυπέρβλητο.
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Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (Russian: Лев Николаевич Толстой; commonly Leo Tolstoy in Anglophone countries) was a Russian writer who primarily wrote novels and short stories. Later in life, he also wrote plays and essays. His two most famous works, the novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina, are acknowledged as two of the greatest novels of all time and a pinnacle of realist fiction. Many consider To ...more
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“Can it be that I have not lived as one ought?" suddenly came into his head. "But how not so, when I've done everything as it should be done?” 66 likes
“Morning or night, Friday or Sunday, made no difference, everything was the same: the gnawing, excruciating, incessant pain; that awareness of life irrevocably passing but not yet gone; that dreadful, loathsome death, the only reality, relentlessly closing in on him; and that same endless lie. What did days, weeks, or hours matter?” 54 likes
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