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The Cossacks and Other Stories

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3.92  ·  Rating details ·  400 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
Olenin was a youth who had never completed his university course, never served anywhere (having only a nominal post in some government office or other), who had squandered half his fortune and had reached the age of twenty-four without having done anything or even chosen a career. He was what in Moscow society is termed un jeune homme. But he did find a career -- he took a ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published January 30th 1961 by Penguin Classics (first published 1863)
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(showing 1-30)
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Roger Brunyate
Sevastopol Sketches: War and no Peace

A friend asked why there is so little literature about the Crimean War (1854–56). I am not yet in a position to answer that, but I though I'd start with an eyewitness account, Tolstoy's Sevastopol Sketches (1856), available free on Gutenberg in a translation by Isabel Hapgood. But her first sentences gave me pause:
The flush of morning has but just begun to tinge the sky above Sapun Mountain; the dark blue surface of the sea has already cast aside the shades
...more
Edward
Chronology
Introduction
A Note on the Texts
Maps


--The Cossacks

The Sevastopol Stories
--Sevastopol in December
--Sevastopol in May
--Sevastopol in August (1855)

--Hadji Murat

Notes
Glossary

Kyle
Dec 04, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tolstoy, when you don't feel like committing to a thousand pages. It's great.
Adrian
Sep 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Cossacks is a coming of age story based on Tolstoy's experience of the Caucasus and the cossack way of life when he was there as a young soldier. It's gripping enough and has beautiful passages, especially those where the landscape of the plains, rivers and mountains are described. You feel as though you are there - no-one can do that like Tolstoy. It's the work of a youngish writer though, with characters that feel a bit like archetypes, not always completely convincingly created.

Well at le
...more
Emma
Mar 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: russia
happy ever after - 3.5/5
ivan ilyich - 4/5
cossacks - 3/5
Michael
Feb 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of Russia and Russian culture, Cossacks, Orthodox Christians
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andrew
Apr 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of lesser-known pieces from Tolstoy, which have been curiously & serendipitously topical dealing with the Russian Empire of the brutal & tyrannical Tsar Nicholas I - (ridiculed & filleted by Tolstoy in the outstanding story "Hadji Murat" about a Muslim tribal leader in the Caucasus in the 1850s)- a perfect facsimile of Putin's putative incursions in the same areas. The "Sevastopol Stories" deal with Tolstoy's realistic picture of the Crimean War (1854-57) in which he ser ...more
Mark
Sep 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Cossacks
I enjoyed this short story greatly, as it reminded me of the joy of being foreign. When you are a stranger in a strange land everything is new and wonderful. In reading The Cossacks I got that same feeling of euphoria in both being different and being among a strange culture that is different. Also, I felt it was an interesting travelogue for people living in the big city (i.e. Moscow) about life on the frontier. It reminded of the movie Dances With Wolves or more recently Avatar.


Th
...more
John
Apr 12, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Family Happiness – 2.5 – A bit formulaic with stock characters. But an insightful story into marriage.

The Cossacks – 4.5 – Wonderful. Like a sample size of what Tolstoy hast offer in his full novels. The character progression in Olenin is very enjoyable. In a sense Olenin felt very familiar, like he reminded me other characters, but I never could place it. Olenin’s letter towards the end was fabulous.

The themes of feeling at home and being an outsider are wonderfully developed. Olenin does not
...more
Holly
Oct 20, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic-lit
Life difficulties last week sent me running to the pages of classic Russian literature. And this one sent me to Tolstoy's "The Cossacks." I love the pace of a good Russian story...and this one didn't let me down. I was hooked from the beautiful opening paragraph and felt my reality melt away as I sank into a new one:

"All is quiet in Moscow. The squeak of wheels is seldom heard in the snow-covered street. There are no lights left in the windows and the street lamps have been extinguished. Only th
...more
Rhea
Jul 23, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
First off, this edition contains The Cossacks, The Sevastopol Stories, and Hadji Murat. While I'm glad I read them all I can't say that the experience was all that pleasurable. This edition is chock full of information but so poorly structured I spent the bulk of my time trying to locate all the end notes. Made for some slow reading. Then there is the subject matter... If you loved the battle scenes in War and Peace then you'll be into these stories. Outside of The Cossacks they are all pretty g ...more
Mark
Nov 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I know this rating system is crazy whereby I can give five stars to a work of contemporary US fiction and no more than 4 stars to a Russian masterpiece, but nevertheless the Cossacks is a fantastic book dragged down only slightly by the middle novella about a siege in Sebastopol. The other two stories here, Hadju Murad and The Cossacks are just about perfect in every way. The former is a great fable for our islamophobic times. The latter is not only a meditation on war but timelesss story about ...more
Marc
Aug 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Much more accessible than War And Peace, and still full of very rich characters. Sevastopol Sketches is the star in this collection, with a knock-out opening and ending, and some in-depth exploration of the nature of courage and cowardice which doesn't always lend itself well to the short form, but hey, this is Tolstoy, a war vet in his own right with a few things he needed to get off his chest before starting that opus.
Doug
Aug 03, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had an older version of this Penguin edition that had in it The Death of Ivan Ilyich, The Cossacks, and Happy Ever After. The stories were good and entertaining and thought-provoking. What does it mean to be in love? How can people from two different social classes engage in a relationship? Is there honesty at death?
Laura
Feb 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
War and Peace has been on my "to read list" forever. However, I was a bit intimidated by the length and wanted to try something shorter first. The Cossacks and Other Stories was the perfect fit. I loved the three stories within the book and never felt overwhelmed by Tolstoy's writing. I'm now looking forward to tackling War and Peace in audio format!
Travis
Jan 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the only Tolstoy I've read, but I enjoyed it. It starts out pretty slow, but picks up after the first chapter. As Tolstoy tells the story you can see the mountains and small village near the river, and you can vision the guards and the border skirmishes. This is an excellent book, well worth the read.
Ben
Sep 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Cossacks is so close to being perfect; it pulls painfully away from perfection, just as the protagonist is pulled painfully away from the spiritual release/country romance he's looking for... and the gorgeous mania of clarity is muddied by emotional disquiet.
Jason Gant
Aug 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Part of reading is the fun of escape. Tolstoy vividly takes one to 1850's Caucasus. However, one can't help contemplate the current "war on terror" and the current Russian and Chechen relations while reading Hadji Murat. The reading is yakshi bek yakshi! (Good very good) Saubul!
Matthew
Jan 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dear Tolstoy,
I would like to go back in time to serve with you in the Russian army and be a real djigit. Your prose is fantastic and lovely. I have mad props for your beliefs, social justice forever yo.


With Love,
Matthew
Kyle
Mar 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mountain men on the edge of the Russian empire. Wonder if any of the djigits left the motherland for Canada, part of the Tolstoy-funded Doukhobors exodus?
l.
Jan 17, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
only had to read the cossacks. not a huge fan of ethnographical details and the characters... i don't know, so 2d... not impressed.
Lysergius
Quintessentially Russian Tolstoy makes good reading. These stories are much more accessible than War and Peace or Anna Karenin...
Iliana
"Hadji Murat" -- Awesome. Definitely worth the read just for the parallel chapters on Nicholas I and Shamil alone.
Mark
Nov 25, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good read I look forward to discussing with my friends.
Jesse Spackman
Feb 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love the way Tolstoy writes. He's now become my favorite author. I can't wait to dive into War and Peace.
M.C.
Mar 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is on my keeper shelf and I revisit it every year or so, it is so terribly good!
T Land
Jan 21, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good supplement to Orlando Figes's _The Crimean War_.
Scott Fishwick
Mar 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not even this b-side translation can spoil Tolstoy for me.
Todd Williams
Aug 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overshadowed since I just read War and Peace, but Cossacks was very good. I'm looking forward to re-reading Hadji Murat after so many years.
Christopher
Most have been a refection on something he personally did, it was interesting, but not nearly as complete or complicated as his other novels and no moral point
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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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