The title story of this collection is about a man battling a mysterious illness. His family visit his bedside, their faces masks of concern. His colleagues pay their respects but only think of the advantages created by his death. This intensely moving story of Ivan Ilyich's lonely end is one of the masterpieces of Tolstoy's late fiction. The ten other stories in this new collection include 'The Kreutzer Sonata', 'The Devil', and 'Hadji Murat' which has been described by Harold Bloom as 'the best story in the world'.
"As good as anything Tolstoy ever wrote... Self-assured, vital, unforgettable" Guardian
Count Leo Tolstoy was born in 1828 at Yasnaya Polyana, in the Tula province, and educated privately. He studied Oriental languages and law at the University of Kazan, then led a life of pleasure until 1851 when he joined an artillery regiment in the Caucasus. He took part in the Crimean War and after the defence of Sebastopol he wrote The Sebastopol Sketches (1855-6), which established his reputation. After a period in St Petersburg and abroad, where he studied educational methods for use in his school for peasant children in Yasnaya Polyana, he married Sofya Andreyevna Behrs in 1862. The next fifteen years was a period of great happiness; they had thirteen children, and Tolstoy managed his vast estates in the Volga Steppes, continued his educational projects, cared for his peasants and wrote War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877). A Confession (1879-82) marked a spiritual crisis in his life; he became an extreme moralist and in a series of pamphlets after 1880 expressed his rejection of state and church, indictment of the weaknesses of the flesh and denunciation of private property. His teaching earned him numerous followers at home and abroad, but also much opposition, and in 1901 he was excommuincated by the Russian Holy Synod. He died in 1910, in the course of a dramamtic flight from home, at the small railway station of Astapovo.
"As good as anything Tolstoy ever wrote... Self-assured, vital, unforgettable" Guardian "The simplicity and power of this novella, the story of the terrible encroachment of death on a shallow man spiritually unprepared for it, has staggered millions" Sunday Telegraph "I don't read Russian, but I think Tolstoy's writing comes over whatever translation you read...he wrote the great, terrible story The Death of Ivan Illyich" -- Redmond O'Hanlon Independent "An indubitable masterpiece" -- Yann Martel "For me, the best insight into the process of dying comes from Leo Tolstoy in his short story, The Death of Ivan Ilych, which examines the life and death of the most ordinary man" -- Oliver James Mail on Sunday