Anna Karenina. In fact, Tolstoy's entire surroundings and relationships have shades of Anna K. It's easy to see where he got his inspiration and material, which just confirms for me the brilliance of his writing and that I haven't come close to satisfying my curiosity. I have a small book of short stories of his waiting on my TBR shelf, but as of yet don't possess the granddaddy of them all, War and Peace. But can that be far behind? *gulp* The size and scope alone scares the stuffing out of me and I have hitherto resolved not to even go there. The Pressure! I sense my resolve is slipping, though. If I do make an attempt to read it it will have to be the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation as I believe it was their nuanced interpretation of Anna K that made it so accessible for us non-Russians. I can only hope W & P will be just as readable and engrossing. When, if ever, the time comes, that is . . .
As Leo Tolstoy's life draws to a tumultuous close, his tempestuous wife and most cunning disciple are locked in a fierce battle for the great man's soul. Torn between his professed doctrine of poverty and chastity and the reality of his enormous wealth and thirteen children, Tolstoy dramatically flees his home, only to fall ill at a tiny nearby rail station. The famous (and famously troubled) writer believes he is dying alone, unaware that more than a hundred newspapermen camp outside awaiting hourly reports on his condition.
Jay Parini moves deftly among a colorful cast of characters to create a stunning portrait of one of the world's most treasured authors. Dancing between fact and fiction, The Last Station is a brilliant and moving literary performance. (back cover)