The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I read The Death of Ivan Ilych a couple of months ago and I loved it. Some may find the plot depressing: middle level bureaucrat plods through an unremarkable life doing his best to fit in and impress according to social norms until suddenly he's ill and dies without anyone morning his loss, kind of like an unremarkable Scrooge without the soul saving intervention. But the genius of Tolstoy grabs and keeps the reader's interest by building up layers of details and observations. It's more than a "lead a meaningful life" morality tale. Tolstoy is working out for himself what may happen if he stays true to his aristocratic, materialist roots.
This is, I'm ashamed to say, the first Tolstoy I've read. But as a short novel, it's enough to hold one's interest without being too much and scaring you away. Now I feel like I can tackle the bigger works.
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