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The Diaries of Sofia Tolstoy

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3.73  ·  Rating Details  ·  135 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
After marrying Count Leo Tolstoy, the renowned author of Anna Karenina and War and Peace, Sofia Tolstoy kept a detailed diary until his death in 1910. Her life was not an easy one: she idealized her husband but was tormented by him. She lived against the background of one of the most turbulent periods in her country’s history, as old feudal Russia was transformed by thre ...more
Paperback, 607 pages
Published September 7th 2010 by Harper Perennial (first published January 1st 1984)
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Matt Forster
Sep 22, 2010 Matt Forster rated it really liked it
Perhaps it's the medium. Diaries are not written for an audience, and you can hardly blame the writer if she fails to connect. For much of the book I found myself grasping desperately for some context. Pages and pages went by, and I simply couldn't find a reason to go on. Endless little comments on the everyday doings of her family and friends. All just terribly mundane. Here's a sample of entry starts pulled at random:

"I didn't sleep, got up late and sat down at once to work with Sasha. But I s
...more
Elena
Jul 12, 2012 Elena rated it really liked it
“Sonia, draga mea, sunt vinovat, dar sunt şi un nesuferit, numai că în mine se află un om minunat care uneori doarme. Să-l iubeşti şi să nu-i reproşezi nimic, Sonia!”,îi scria Lev Tolstoi în 1863 soţiei. Oricine ar citi această carte, imposibil să nu observe cum i-a urmat îndemnul, iubindu-l profund întreaga viaţă, în ciuda caracterului său, de multe ori ursuz.
Jurnalul Sofiei, deşi semi-oficial, Tolstoi având acces la el, descrie fără menajamente viaţa lor conjugală, tranparenţă ce devine durero
...more
Abi Rhodes
Apr 14, 2011 Abi Rhodes rated it it was ok
Sophia Behrs was only 18 when she was introduced to the 34-year-old Count Leo Tolstoy, in 1862, and by the September of the same year they were married in Moscow. On the eve of their wedding Leo Tolstoy asked his bride-to-be to read his diaries, in which he describes his sexual relationships with serfs, a love affair with one young woman in particular who bore him a child, and his homosexual leanings. The young Sophia was both devastated and disgusted by what she had read:

“The whole of my husba
...more
Petra
Mar 20, 2015 Petra rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I could only read this book in smaller doses. Sofia's life is full of pain, sorrow, anguish, fear......or was it that bad? Sofia herself said that she only writes in her diary when she's feeling sad, lonely, mad, depressed, etc. There are large gaps of missing time....were these the good times of her life when she laughed and enjoyed it?
At the beginning of each diary is a short telling of what was going on in Russia and in Leo's life (what he was writing, thinking, doing). Yet in Sofia's diary,
...more
Mythili
Sep 02, 2010 Mythili rated it really liked it
She writes, “Everyone asks: ‘But why should a worthless woman like you need an intellectual, artistic life?’ To this I can only reply: ‘I don’t know, but eternally suppressing it to serve a genius is a great misfortune.’ ” Though Sofia's frayed nerves and endless crying scenes got a bit tedious, I really enjoyed getting to see her life (and all its contradictions) so closely. As these diaries (which span more than half century) demonstrate, it's not your average woman who is responsible for darn ...more
Inna
Mar 28, 2016 Inna rated it liked it
The book I read was actually Любовь и бунт (Love and Rebel - http://inostrankabooks.ru/ru/book/17797/ )/ but I couldn't find it on goodreads, so... The book is mostly a diary by Sofia Tolstaya for just one year - 1910 - the year Lev Tolstoy ran away from his estate (and his wife) and died several days later from pneumonia. With his wife being banned from the room he was dying in. Thus we follow the events which ked to this tragedy from the point of view of Tolstoy's wife (labelled by some as the ...more
Danelle
Jan 03, 2011 Danelle rated it really liked it
The Diaries of Sofia Tolstoy are just that: the personal diaries of the wife of Count Lev Nikolavevich Tolstoy (or as most of us know him, Leo Tolstoy). This book is no walk in the park. It's big and tedious, but in between all of those days with mundane entries, there are some pretty amazing ones - and those are what make this book stand out.

We get an inside look at what Tolstoy was like, how it was to live with this 'genius', how life in Russia was at this turbulent stage in that country's his
...more
Cheryl
Feb 09, 2013 Cheryl marked it as to-read
Recommends it for: interested in Russian literature
I've actually read the introduction and the first 20 pages or so of this book; just grabbed it up when I saw it at the bookstore.
I've read enough to confirm my existing impression that Tolstoy, the finest novelist of his age and place, was a rotten person, at least to live with.
Looking forward to seeing how Sonia Tolstaya struggled to reconcile her own desires with being a "good wife" to Tolstoy and a good mother to their nine (surviving) children.

On Edit
I never finished this book. No more than
...more
Hayro
Nov 11, 2014 Hayro rated it really liked it
It has always been a pleasure for me to read diaries as they contain the very basic and rudimentary thoughts of the diary keeper, and sometimes you feel like you wanna read about only the actual things. In that sense, it is good experience to see the relationship between Sofia and Leo.
Susanna
Dec 11, 2010 Susanna rated it it was amazing
While it seemed like it took me forever to read this book, in the end it was well worth it. I am unfamiliar with the Tolstoys, having never read any of Leo's works, but Sofia's diary was still fascinating. Not only did it provide significant insights into the complex life of Tolstoy and his family, it also gave an insider's views of Russian history between about 1870 and 1920 - the time that experienced the violent transition from the Romanovs to the Bolsheviks. And even if I wasn't interested i ...more
Jason
Oct 03, 2013 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this fascinating, but difficult to get through. I felt Sofia got very whiny in her diaries; while I realize that's what diaries are for, it's difficult to read page after page after page of the same whining. WIth that said, it's an intriguing look at a fascinatingly strong woman at a time and place where that was a no-no. While each year's heading contains context for each year, I do recommend highly reading the introduction as it gives a great deal of social, political, and economic bac ...more
Susan Ozment
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Daphné
I'm dropping the course that assigned me this book. Not that it's because this book is so astonishly boring but I just really, really don't like the course.
This book, however, really does make you want to throw it against a wall, rip your hair out, go back in time to slap Sofia in the face so she might start to rethink her life and leave her f*cktard of an husband. I would have never been able to finish this book and I'm so glad I found a way out of having to read this.
Kara
Sep 18, 2010 Kara rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Wow, this blew me away. I hadn't known much about the lives of Sofia and Leo before this so I knew from the get go I was going to learn a lot. It was chilling how human Sofia was and how she had to go through what she did sometimes with Leo - the fights, the quarrelling, it hurt her deeply. I think that she was a great woman after reading the book and I hope others read the diaries too for insight.
Patrice
Apr 25, 2013 Patrice rated it it was amazing
I didn't have the time to finish this book but I hope to go back to it when I do have time. It is absolutely fascinating. Such insight into Tolstoy and his world! They both kept diaries and shared them with each other. I'm reading War and Peace and it occurs to me that it's rambling nature is a bit like a diary. Although it obviously has a plan, it seems to be a story that is told in real time.

Kristen
Jan 13, 2013 Kristen rated it liked it
after 3 pages you see where Tolstoy got all his material for Anna Karenina. Poor Sofia, her husband wasn't exactly supportive. Too bad she didn't have modern medicine to help her. I still haven't finished this, I read a few pages at a time, its really all I can take.

Not totally fair to judge her too harshly though, it was her personal dairy and in those days, that's all she had.
Heidi
Nov 30, 2013 Heidi rated it it was ok
Shelves: gave-up-on
It was interesting that they have her diaries but reading anybody's diary would get to be tedious. Nobody's life can be interesting everyday. I just couldn't stay interested in 600 pages of her days that mostly consisted of teaching her many children and being insecure about her marriage.
Suzanne
Nov 02, 2010 Suzanne rated it it was amazing
This woman has been historically grossly misunderstood, but this book helps us to know her. I can sympathize with her feelings. Great reading.
Helen
Jul 27, 2011 Helen rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I find these diaries fascinating - another view into the life of Leo Tolstoy as well.
Lisa
Jan 16, 2010 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A page turner and what an interesting view of Leo Tolstoy for those who love his writing.
Rebecca
Apr 25, 2016 Rebecca rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Grote stukken uit gelezen, geeft een mooi beeld van de tijdsgeest, triest ook.
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Sophia Andreyevna Tolstaya (née Behrs) (Russian: Софья Андреевна Толстая, sometimes Anglicised as Sophia Tolstoy), was the wife of Russian novelist and thinker Leo Tolstoy. Sophia was one of 3 daughters of physician Andrey Behrs, and Liubov Alexandrovna Behrs.

Sophia was first introduced to Leo Tolstoy in 1862, when she was 18 years old. At 34, Tolstoy was 16 years her senior. On 17 September, 1862
...more
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“... daca iubirea a pus stapanire pe om, atunci el o transpune in tot: in munca, in viata, in relatiile cu alti oameni, intr-o carte, transmitand in toate o asemenea energie si bucurie, ca ea devine atat motorul unui singur om, cat si al intregii lumi care-l inconjoara.” 3 likes
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