Grace Tjan's Reviews > Tolstoy: A Biography

Tolstoy by A.N. Wilson
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's review
Mar 17, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: biography, russian-literature, 2009, yasnaya-polyana
Read in February, 2009

200 pages shorter than Troyat's monumental biography, Wilson gives us less of a novel of Tolstoy's life and instead offers us more insights about the man and his times. His theory is that Tolstoy's genius lies in his ability to seamlessly merge fact and fiction, resulting in the supreme ilussion of his novels.

Wilson questions the veracity of several incidents accepted as fact by Troyat and other biographers. His discussion of events in Russian history from an outsider's perspective is enlightening, and perhaps more helpful than Troyat's novelistic approach in understanding not only Tolstoy but also the milleu in which he was creating his novels.

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