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.
First of all, Simon Vance is a wonderful reader. He does a brilliant job with the long Russian names which made this a pleasure to listen to. And the first half of the book I found completely captivating -- Tolstoy is an excellent writer and I loved his humor and detail. However, I'm afraid I lost interest during the second part of the book as I felt there were many new characters constantly being introduced who did not add to the story. I guess I was also a bit disappointed with the ending, but I guess it was a rather gutsy thing to write at the time.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to Resurrection again? Why?
Yes because it has so much wisdom and insight at man's inhumanity to man.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Any additional comments?
Every person should read this novel. They say reading literature teaches people empathy. This is a primary example.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Tolstoy's last major novel (1899) is his twilight indictment of the criminal justice and penal systems. The novel opens with the Russian prince Dmitri N. serving on a jury in a criminal trial of 3 peasants, a man and 2 women, accused of poisoning and robbing the deceased. Prince recognizes one of the accused women, named Ms. Maslova, as a young maid he deflowered when both were teens a decade earlier during his visit to his aunts' home. The head maid had fired Maslova, an educated peasant, after finding out she slept with the Prince. With nowhere else to turn, Maslova became a prostitute.
Although the jury finds Maslova not guilty, an error in the jury's verdict form leaves her technically guilty of an act contributing to the death, and thus subject to mandatory imprisonment. Believing his actions directly caused Maslova's wayward path ultimately leading to the imprisonment, Prince N sets out on a course to overturn her conviction and have her freed. In the process, he talks with numerous other prisoners and learns of much unfairness, perceived and real, both specific to cases and generally resulting from being raised in a bad environment.
Regrettably, this novel wanes about halfway through when Tolstoy "tells" much more than he "shows," the novel becoming more of a scathing sermon, full of homilies and exhortations seeming to champion a sort of anarchist view of Christianity whereby no person can sit in judgment of any other (all of us being sinners).
Tolstoy remains my favorite novelist ever. Like all other humans, he was not perfect.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful
There is not much to say about Tolstoy’s books except, fabulous. Russian literature and writers are like no others. Their characters jump off the page, their description always extremely vivid.
I was pleased I found one I had not read
What a magnificent, beautiful, touching and sobering book. It has left me with a sense of disquiet though. So many of the terrible things that T. observed about society’s manner of administering criminal “justice” and also brutalizing the poor, while keeping the rich firmly entrenched and complacently indifferent, are still firmly in place and in many cases, worse than ever before...right here in America. This brings great sadness. What a very modern book it was, in so many ways. What he saw left him broken hearted, but what he would have seen had he lived another few decades more - possibly would have driven him mad.
I realize now that the religious journey one must go on if one reads T., is a logical progression of steps, leading to the ultimate conclusions that he reached in this book. It is heartening that he finally realized the nonsensical emptiness of the religious rituals that had once filled him with such nostalgia, embracing a simpler and more honest truth.
In this book, Tolstoy exposes the criminal "justice" system, as Prince N. follows Maslova, the girl he ruined twelve years before, to a prison in Siberia, to which she has been sentenced to four years hard labor. On the journey he meets various criminal and political prisoners, who help to form within him, a new point of view about society, the law, and Christianity itself.
The novel is deep, harsh and unsparing, but also extremely poetical and humanistic, with Tolsoy's characteristic mastery of cinematic description lighting up the journey from start to finish. If you ever wondered why there really was a series of Russian revolutions that changed the course of European and world history, this novel explains it all very well.
This book stays with one, provoking thoughts and emotions and endless admiration for this intellectual giant.
What did you love best about Resurrection?
The lesson on how to set personal ego aside and just do the right thing vs. the thing that other's projected expectation of the right thing.
Complicated yet simple plot.
What did you like best about this story?
The focus on the consequences for actions having a long-term effect.
The character development that Tolstoy pens reveals many human characteristics and exposes how perceptions of right and wrong, good and bad are woven into our pre-conceived notions of others.
I also enjoyed the various little sub-plots.
Which character – as performed by Simon Vance – was your favorite?
Katyusha Maslova - she shows vulnerability, nobility, work ethic, moral decay, and so many opposites in just one character.
If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?
Face the Extreme
Extreme the Face
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
This book has a lot of characters, but the all play out well.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
I loved how the story all wove together.
Any additional comments?
This is a story for the ages! It shows instead of tells. Very powerful!