Elizabeth's Reviews > The Death of Ivan Ilych And Other Stories

The Death of Ivan Ilych And Other Stories by Leo Tolstoy
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's review
Sep 27, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction, russia
Read 2 times. Last read May 4, 2008.

Tolstoy cracks me up. Sometimes his prose is so modern, so spot-on, so genius, so undoubtedly right, that I chuckle as I'm reading. I love when he writes things like, "Of course as soon as he left the room, they all began to talk about him. (This is paraphrased.)" Or even better, "Besides the reflections upon the changes and promotions in the service likely to ensue from this death, the very fact of the death of an intimate acquaintance excited in every one who heard of it, as such a fact always does, a feeling of relief that 'it is he that is dead, and not I.'" (The Death of Ivan Ilych).

I enjoyed this grouping of short stories for the variety of topic and as always, his sparkling insights into marriage, death, revenge and adultery. The last story in the series, Hadji Murad, was the only one that dragged on a bit, but I have tendency to tune out when reading about battle scenes. I don't even like watching battle scenes in movies (it's a great time to go get popcorn).

What else can I say? Most people would agree that he's a genius and it's hard to go wrong with his work. Anna Karenina is still my favorite, but I'm willing to go the distance next time (maybe next year) and try War and Peace.
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