Christine's Reviews > Leo Tolstoy's 20 Greatest Short Stories Annotated

Leo Tolstoy's 20 Greatest Short Stories Annotated by Leo Tolstoy
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's review
Aug 10, 2009

it was ok
bookshelves: read-fiction, first-reads
Recommended to Christine by: Goodreads First Reads
Read in September, 2009 , read count: 1

I was able to win this book from Goodreads First Reads contest, which was fantastic. It was a new edition, signed by the author. Unfortunately, the book had some problems structurally that did not allow full enjoyment.

I am unfamiliar with Tolstoy's short stories so can not speak to this being the "greatest" of them. They were definitely varied in theme and setting, but class and religion were common themes and some reminded me of Catholic parables and fables that I had read as a child.

There was a brief editor's introduction and a solid bio of Tolstoy's life (not written by the editor) which gave me some necessary background on Muzhik life in 18th-19th century Russia.

There were a couple of typos which really surprised me had made it through proofing but the largest problem was, sad to say, the annotations. The annotations were maddening and difficult to use. For many English words it gave the Russian equivalent, which I assume is for those fluent in Russian to get their own connotation but for a reader of an English edition seems to doubt the translation. There are repetitious annotations in each story (as if the book was broken up and then put back together). Annotations are supposed to clarify or expand on something the reader would want to know, but may not be inherent in the text. A translation of some French words to English, but not others, a definition of "samovar" in every story while other words in Russian are never translated, etc., made for a sometimes maddening read.

If this edition was unannotated at all it would have made three stars, if it had been annotated well, maybe four, but the distraction was unfortunately not a worthwhile one.

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message 1: by CLM (new)

CLM But how could it be signed by the author? Did he come back from the dead with a pen?

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