Leo Tolstoy stands tall among the great Russian novelists of the 19th century. Tolstoy based Resurrection
, the last of his novels, on a true story of a philanderer whose misuse of a beautiful young orphan girl leads to her ruin. Fate brings the two together many years later, and the meeting awakens the man's moral conscience. Anger, intimacy, forgiveness, and grace result.
While the situation of Tolstoy's plot is alien to most people, his nuanced treatment of mortal life is familiar to all. Later in his life Tolstoy confessed that he earlier had seduced two young girls for his pleasure. Perhaps his own deeds and their horrible consequences motivated him to write this novel with special passion. It is a particularly moving tale.
Tolstoy's Resurrection is marvelous in the fullest sense of the word - a story so improbable that it must be a miraculous achievement.