Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Poet of Tolstoy Park” as Want to Read:
The Poet of Tolstoy Park
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Poet of Tolstoy Park

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  566 Ratings  ·  121 Reviews
“The more you transform your life from the material to the spiritual domain, the less you become afraid of death.” Leo Tolstoy spoke these words, and they became Henry Stuart’s raison d’etre. The Poet of Tolstoy Park is the unforgettable novel based on the true story of Henry Stuart’s life, which was reclaimed from his doctor’s belief that he would not live another year.

Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 28th 2006 by Ballantine Books (first published 2005)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Poet of Tolstoy Park, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Community Reviews

(showing 1-10)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Retired philosophy Professor Henry James Stuart has much to learn and time seems to be in short supply. It's 1925 and at the age of 67 he has been diagnosed with tuberculosis and given maybe 1-year to live. The doctor tells him death would be easier on him if he were in a warmer climate than his Canyon County, Idaho home.
The idea of moving felt right for Henry as he did not wish to have his two grown sons watch him die the way he had watched his wife die just two years earlier. Plus, he felt th
Saleh MoonWalker
Jul 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, novel, historical
Onvan : The Poet of Tolstoy Park - Nevisande : Sonny Brewer - ISBN : 345476328 - ISBN13 : 9780345476326 - Dar 304 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2005
Diane Barnes
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have always been drawn to books about people who left it all behind, just walked away from their lives one day and started fresh, made new friends or none at all, went to another part of the country, or another country altogether. I think it takes a lot of courage to do that.

Henry Stuart did just that, after getting a terminal diagnosis of tuberculosis from his doctor in Idaho. One year to live, a warmer climate might help the end be a little easier. So at the age of 67, he chose Fairhope, Ala
The Poet of Tolstoy Park: The Road Less Traveled

I selected this novel by Sonny Brewer as my Moderator's Choice for members of On the Southern Literary Trail for January, 2o18. I first read The Poet of Tolstoy Park: A Novel upon its publication in 2005. Since then I have recommended this book to many readers. It concerns a journey we all must take. Facing our own mortality. Don't be disheartened by the serious nature of the subject matter. It's not the final stop when the train pulls into the st
May 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommended to Tony by: Mike Sullivan
Shelves: u-s-lit
This book was a personal recommendation from Goodreads legend Mike Sullivan, who champions Southern writers, both classic and recent. That's good enough for me - or even decent people - to give it a try.

This book, inspired by a true life, tells the fictionalized story of Henry Stuart, 67 and recently widowed, living in Idaho in 1925 when his doctor informs him he has advanced, but non-contagious tuberculosis, and has about a year to live. Henry is a mystical sort, soon to become eccentric. Dista
Tom Mathews
Dec 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Sometimes it is great to slow down and read a book that is gentle and philosophical. Sonny Brewer's novel based on the life of Henry Stuart is just such a book. When diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1925, Stuart made the unusual decision to leave his home and go to a place where he could face his impending death in solitude and on his own terms. To that end, he bought ten acres of undeveloped land in Fairhope, Alabama, gave away most of his worldly goods, and climbed aboard the train that would, h ...more
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In the words of Dylan Thomas, “Do not go gentle to that good night,/ Old age should burn and rage at close of day;/ Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

Henry James Stuart was such a one. He did not go gently, he went on his own terms. Some would say he beat death at its own game, although he would have been the first to tell you that death is always the winner, eventually.

What we can learn from Henry Stuart is more about life than it ever could be about death. He was an amazingly complex
Jan 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Historic fiction loosely based on the true story of Henry Stuart a 67 year old retired professor, widower, and father of two sons who in 1925 decides to leave behind his past life in Nampa, ID and head for the warmer clime of Fairhope, Alabama, after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. Told by his doctor he may fare better in a warmer place, he is still given the prognosis of only a year to live, so Stuart inspired by the words of his favorite poet Tolstoy shucks of his boots and barefooted ...more
Nancy Chappell
Aug 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
A lovely, sweet read about an eccentric, thoughtful, kind man. Reminded me of some of the better parts of my ex husband. His love of Tolstoy and questioning of organized religion were appreciated. Based on a true character. Thanks, Sonny Brewer.
Aug 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult, favorites
If you're into Southern literature or maybe just appreciate beautiful writing, give this novel a read. My in-laws loaned it to me and I'm so glad they did. Reading The Poet of Tolstoy Park has firmed up my desire to someday live in Fairhope! It is also a book that makes readers consider our life decisions. Finally, I love a book based on real life and I was so happy to learn about Henry Stuart and his time in Fairhope through Sonny Brewer's fictionalized account.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • In My Father's House
  • Love in a Dry Season
  • Shoebox Train Wreck
  • The Architecture of the Arkansas Ozarks
  • The Home Place
  • Work Like Any Other
  • Better Times Than These
  • Apparition & Late Fictions
  • The Girl Who Swam to Atlantis
  • A Circle of Earth
  • Big Bad Love
  • Like Trees, Walking
  • The Americas: A Hemispheric History
  • Iron Branch: A Civil War Tale of a Woman In-Between
  • The Age of Napoleon
  • Sartoris
  • Nathan Coulter
  • The Age of Shakespeare (Modern Library Chronicles)
Sonny Brewer is the author of four novels, including The Poet of Tolstory Park and The Widow and the Tree. He edited the anthology series Stories from the Blue Moon Café and most recently, Don't Quit Your Day Job - Acclaimed Authors and the Day Jobs they Quit published by MP Publishing in 2010.
More about Sonny Brewer...