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Family Happiness and Other Stories

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  680 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
Each of the 6 powerful tales in this collection exhibits the rich detail, shrewd observations, and vivid narration that characterize Tolstoy's famous novels. In addition to the title story, this compilation includes "Three Deaths," "The Three Hermits," "The Devil," "Father Sergius," and "Master and Man."
Paperback, 208 pages
Published August 15th 2005 by Dover Publications (first published 1973)
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justme
Jan 27, 2009 justme rated it really liked it
Tolstoy has the ability to create a rich world full of its own detail and atmosphere within a mere 80 some pages. That alone is a gift. That aside, "Family Happiness" really made me depressed. Even though I've never been married, the issues and the dialogue in the arguments were all too familiar with what unfortunately tends to happen to many long term relationships.

The story of "Family Happiness" discusses the course of love within a relationship--- its development from "romantic love" to this
...more
Steve
Jan 17, 2008 Steve rated it liked it
A compilation of six short stories, but the one that attracted me to the book was "Family Happiness" because it was featured prominently in the books influential for Christopher McCandless - who Jon Krakauer wrote about in his book "Into the Wild". Though i've studied Russian History, this was actually my first book written by Tolstoy. A new experience for me - the rigid, almost staccato prose. The story "Family Happiness" is not at all what I'd expected, but I'm glad I read it. Written from the ...more
Sarah
Jun 14, 2012 Sarah rated it liked it
Tolstoy was a genius of his time, and one of my favourites when it comes to Russian Literature, but I felt like he does better in novels than short-stories. I feel like he has so much more he wants to say about the characters and their background and just doesn't have enough space to fill it all in to his short-stories. The one I liked the most was, of course, Family Happiness, it's a masterpiece of a short-story and should be read by everyone thinking of having their own family one day.
The last
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Dee
Sep 28, 2014 Dee rated it really liked it
What a beautiful little compilation of stories! This is Tolstoy at his best. He paints scenes of Russian life so beautifully that it is hard not to become immersed in the story. Yet every story has its own message to resound with readers on a deeper level. I truly did not get a true sense of Tolstoy's mastery of writing from reading Anna Karenina, so I am very glad I got a copy of this! I liked every story better than the last, so I cannot pick a favourite but I would recommend them all!
L
May 06, 2014 L rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
I read Family Happiness some 3 years ago but I remember that feeling that crept into me after I closed the book: a mix of sadness and happiness, I think I've never felt like that after I read something - I was just so happy for Masha for finding happiness with her newborn and husband,but also sad because while finding happiness in her new life as a woman, she stepped out of her childhood (I think she was about 18 or 20 then) and also because I think girls shouldn't get married at such tender age ...more
Houry Keshishian
May 10, 2012 Houry Keshishian rated it liked it
Family Happiness 4 stars
Three Deaths 5 stars
The Three Hermits 2 stars
The Devil 3 stars
Father Serguis 2 stars
Master and man 2 stars
Alex T
May 20, 2015 Alex T rated it really liked it
I think that Tolstoy is brilliant. I can really capture what it was like living as an upper class Russian in the 1800s. I believe that what he was trying to illustrate was his view of what ideal love and happiness were. Although the idea is completely subjective, his erudition based on his personal experiences is fascinating. The fact that both Sergey & Masha have “good fortune” and are raised in well-to-do conditions highlights that money isn't everything, because they are bored of their me ...more
Matt
Apr 29, 2016 Matt rated it really liked it
It was a terrific short story. There were surprising parallels to my own relationship.
Pat
Jan 12, 2011 Pat rated it liked it
Family Happiness is about a young woman who marries an older man and the trials and tribulations of trying to remain in love while wanting different things out of life due to their age differences. It is psychological in its approach and is told in the first person from the perspective of the young wife. This serves to give the reader the opportunity to get a deeper understanding of the inner turmoil of the character, Masha, and her struggle to understand herself and her husband better.

I thought
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Tiffany
Mar 04, 2014 Tiffany rated it it was amazing
My all time favorite book with my most adored short story, Family Happiness. This was the first of Tolstoy's work I had read. This is what made me love his writing and my passion for reading and books came out of its hiding because of this book.
Paulo Jan
Feb 15, 2016 Paulo Jan rated it it was amazing
Although more tedious than "The Lord and Servant," the book impressed me, by the way the master Tolstoy develops the protagonist, describing the female mind and soul with a wealth of details unparalleled.
Mike
Mar 03, 2008 Mike rated it really liked it
Just read Family Happiness inspired by a reference in Roth's The Counterlife. This is the story of a young girl who marries an older man, and passes through the emotional stages of innocent infatuation, passionate romantic love, crushing disillusionment, and finally arrives at a recognition of a deeper, albeit less passionate love for her husband. Depending on how credible you find the narrator's account, this is either an uplifting emotional epiphany or a wistful reconciliation to the necessary ...more
Sarah Mack
Mar 26, 2012 Sarah Mack rated it liked it
I really enjoyed Family Happiness, I was captured by its every word! However, the rest of the short stories included were written in a different way, in which i found it extremely hard to keep reading. I would recommend Family Happiness to everyone! It is amazing! i loved how the author took you through the motions of love. i really loved how I could feel the joy, and awkwardness, and other feelings with the characters. I wish the book could have been longer. i would love to know what happens ne ...more
Becky
Nov 02, 2007 Becky rated it liked it
This book left a serious impression on me. It is the story of a young girl who marries a much older gentleman who has always been a close family friend. The way they settle from the passion of their early marriage into a certain routine of feeling and action later in their marriage is what I remember most. They reach a crossroads where they chose between the more turbulent, but passionate relationship or the friendly, less-intimate marriage. An intriguing question for every marriage to consider. ...more
Mari
Jun 23, 2009 Mari rated it really liked it
a thought-provoking commentary on the different loves that exist at different times between a husband and wife. captures at once the reality and the elusiveness, the strength and the weakness of love. given all the metamorphoses the couple's love undergoes, however, i was disappointed with the dramatic finality of the ending, where * SPOILER ALERT * they resign themselves to stagnant contentment.
Ian Magee
Jul 16, 2015 Ian Magee rated it liked it
Shelves: traveling
some of the most beautiful imagery portrayed through his almost simplistic writing, only to be ruined by personally a very underwhelming ending. I was so conflicted on the final parts of the book when after all the development on these quite complex characters their solution or resolution to the situation seemed to be very contrived or even possibly 'out of character'.
Russell
Aug 21, 2008 Russell rated it really liked it
I've long claimed that I'm a book snob and now I've proven it.

I specifically read Tolstoy for no other reason than to find a quote from this novel about marriage for my upcoming wedding.

All the liberal upper middle class wedding goers will be sure to stroke their beards and cluck their tongues in admiration of my classic yet secular piece of editing.
Jan Pliler
Mar 07, 2011 Jan Pliler rated it liked it
Never read any Tolstoy before. With War and Peace and Anna Karnina as his mega marks left, I preferred to get a taste before choking down an epic saga and a thousand pages. This was good. I enjoyed his style and a few perceptions he made on life in general. Will probably read more of his shorter stories but still not committed to read his two big hits.
Vochenko
Jan 06, 2013 Vochenko rated it it was amazing
Shelves: l-ved
Love family happiness because the characters were so well written. The interactions between the characters and the situations they got involved in, lead to real life consequences - no fairy tale ending here. All this ...GREATNESS... made this short story unforgettable, even 5/7 years after closing the cover.
Riley
Aug 19, 2010 Riley rated it liked it
From the Tolstoy bibliographies I've seen, this was the last of his translated works that I hadn't read. I really like the story "Master and Man," which I've read before. On the demerit side, the title story, "Family Happiness" isn't very good at all.
Camilla Stacey
Oct 29, 2011 Camilla Stacey rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Family Happiness was by far the best story in the book, although they are all very good. All the stories are very grim except for Family Happiness. It was a very good taste of Tolstoy's work and it does makes me a little thirsty for more.
Lynne Marie
Feb 16, 2011 Lynne Marie rated it really liked it
Family Happiness, also called Happy Ever After, is my favorite russian short story ever. The Cossacks is pretty good and I skipped the Death of Ivan Ilyich because I can't handle stories about awaiting death. Perfect.
Heidi
Nov 11, 2010 Heidi rated it it was amazing
I'm reading the stories contained in this book but not necessarily the same translations. It's for my book group. (I have the title story available to lend on kindle, among other Tolstoy stories)
Jennifer Rives
Oct 20, 2011 Jennifer Rives rated it really liked it
To be fair, I only read Family Happiness. Tolstoy is brilliant when writing in the female voice. This story was so well-written and frequently had me re-reading sections for their beauty.
Ashley
Sep 25, 2007 Ashley rated it really liked it
Tolstoy writes about the life of a young woman in Russia during the late 1800s. His understanding and writing of his lead character is really quite timeless and accurate.
Tom
Dec 12, 2010 Tom rated it liked it
Family happiness is a beautiful read. Tolstoy brings his reader back to their inner child and the beauty and vigor of life as a teenager/young adult.
Amber
Dec 30, 2009 Amber rated it it was amazing
This is the first book by Tolstoy I read and at the same time the first Russian book. I immediatly fell in love with the way Russians write.
Jonno Revanche
May 19, 2011 Jonno Revanche rated it it was amazing
I intend to reread it but, I found the themes and overarching message of the book interesting. My mind isn't totally made up yet.
Ahmetom734
Sep 13, 2010 Ahmetom734 rated it it was amazing
Alienation, city life and country life, marriage. These are the tags that I think (or I remember) as the most crucial ones.
Eric
Oct 04, 2010 Eric rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorite-fiction
These are great stories. Some really powerful and meaningful stories which is why Tolstoy is so great.
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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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“And I, too, am the same… only there is no love in my heart, or desire for love, no interest in work, not contentment in myself. And how remote and impossible my old religious enthusiasms seem now… and my former abounding life! What once seemed so plain and right – that happiness lay in living for others – is unintelligible now. Why live for others, when life has not attractions even for oneself?” 3 likes
“Was ich wünschte, war Bewegung und nicht ein ruhiges Dahinfließen des Lebens. Es verlangte mich nach Aufregungen und Gefahren, nach Selbstaufopferung um eines Gefühlswillen. In mir war ein Überschuss von Kraft, der in unserem stillen Leben keinen Raum zur Bestätigung fand” 1 likes
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