The colorful Cossack way of life is made alive and real in this historical novel.
Tolstoy's first novel and acknowledged as one of his best, it is based on his own forays into the Caucasus, abandoning his aristocrat life of gambling and carousing in Moscow and volunteering to be attached to the regular army.
The subject of this well-known Tolstoy novella is a high court judge in St. Petersburg who lives a carefree life. One day, without warning, he is beset by pains and soon has to come to terms with the fact that he is going to die. The judge has to learn to face death without fear and yet feel compassion for the family he is leaving behind.
God Sees the Truth, but Waits (1872) is the story of a man falsely convicted and imprisoned in Siberia for a murder he did not commit. Tolstoy explores themes of forgiveness, faith, and guilt in this narrative, which inspired a novella by Stephen King and the film The Shawshank Redemption.
A Prisoner of the Caucasus is an 1872 novella by Leo Tolstoy about two Russian soldiers kidnapped by the enemy for ransom. They were held in custody for some time. They try to escape twice, but one of them succeeds the second time with the help of a local woman.
When a troubled schoolboy forges a cash coupon to pay off a debt, his deed starts off a chain reaction of tragedies that effects the lives of dozens, leading to thefts, imprisonments, murders, and in the end redemption. Originally published posthumously, this was one of the last works of Tolstoy, now excommunicated and raging against the hypocrisies of the Russian state and church.
The brilliance of this story is in how a normal bureaucrat, a judge in this case, has a small accident that winds up gradually taking his life. As he deals with this incident, with hope at first and then despair, he comes to terms with his family, his life, and the mediocrities that we all suffer with, except for the exceptional few. This story rings a particularly poignant note for those in early middle age facing the next part of their lives. This story is considered Tolstoy's best.
In the setting of what is present-day Kazakhstan, Tolstoy examines two psychological problems. The first dilemma is that of a young man who desires both fulfilling love and a place as a respected member of society. The other is the difficulty of a primitive society to accept domination by a higher culture that has no understanding of the traditions it asks its colonists to cast aside.
The novella The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy was published in 1886 and is considered a masterpiece of his late-period fiction. It tells the story of a high-court judge in 19th-century Russia. He lives a simple, carefree life with his family until he is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Confined to bed, he is disgusted that his family avoids the subject of his death by pretending that he is only sick and not dying. He finds comfort only in Gerasim, the peasant boy who does not fear death.