The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy audiobook

The Death of Ivan Ilyich

By Leo Tolstoy
Translated by Constance Garnett
Read by Simon Prebble

Blackstone Publishing, Blackstone Publishing
2.58 Hours 1
Format : Digital Download (In Stock)
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Hailed as one of the world’s masterpieces of psychological realism, The Death of Ivan Ilyich is the story of a worldly careerist, a high-court judge who has never given the inevitability of his death so much as a passing thought. But one day death announces itself to him, and to his shocked surprise he is brought face to face with his own mortality. How, Tolstoy asks, does an unreflective man confront his one and only moment of truth? The first part of the story portrays Ivan Ilyich’s colleagues and family after he has died as they discuss the effect of his death on their careers and fortunes. In the second part, Tolstoy reveals the life of the man whose death seems so trivial. The perfect bureaucrat, Ilyich treasured his orderly domestic and office routine. Diagnosed with an incurable illness, he at first denies the truth but is influenced by the simple acceptance of his servant boy, and he comes to embrace the boy’s belief that death is natural and not shameful. He comforts himself with happy memories of childhood and gradually realizes that he has ignored all his inner yearnings as he tried to do what was expected of him. Will Ilyich be able to come to terms with himself before his life ebbs away? This short novel was the artistic culmination of a profound spiritual crisis in Tolstoy’s own life, a nine-year period following the publication of Anna Karenina during which he wrote not a word of fiction. A thoroughly absorbing glimpse into the abyss of death, it is also a strong testament to the possibility of finding spiritual salvation.

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Summary

Summary

Hailed as one of the world’s masterpieces of psychological realism, The Death of Ivan Ilyich is the story of a worldly careerist, a high-court judge who has never given the inevitability of his death so much as a passing thought. But one day death announces itself to him, and to his shocked surprise he is brought face to face with his own mortality. How, Tolstoy asks, does an unreflective man confront his one and only moment of truth?

The first part of the story portrays Ivan Ilyich’s colleagues and family after he has died as they discuss the effect of his death on their careers and fortunes. In the second part, Tolstoy reveals the life of the man whose death seems so trivial. The perfect bureaucrat, Ilyich treasured his orderly domestic and office routine. Diagnosed with an incurable illness, he at first denies the truth but is influenced by the simple acceptance of his servant boy, and he comes to embrace the boy’s belief that death is natural and not shameful. He comforts himself with happy memories of childhood and gradually realizes that he has ignored all his inner yearnings as he tried to do what was expected of him.

Will Ilyich be able to come to terms with himself before his life ebbs away?

This short novel was the artistic culmination of a profound spiritual crisis in Tolstoy’s own life, a nine-year period following the publication of Anna Karenina during which he wrote not a word of fiction. A thoroughly absorbing glimpse into the abyss of death, it is also a strong testament to the possibility of finding spiritual salvation.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Considered a masterpiece of psychological realism.” Merriam Webster’s Encyclopedia of Literature
“Written more than a century ago, Tolstoy’s work still retains the power of a contemporary novel.” Publishers Weekly
“Tolstoy’s novella offers a penetrating examination of the Christian faith and the nature of life and death.” AudioFile

Reviews

Reviews

by saxman69 9/13/2017
Overall Performance
Narration
Story

This is one of Tolstoy's Greatest Works

The Death of Ivan Ilyich was first published in 1886 and it is one of Tolstoy's late period masterpieces. This is a short novella that may not have the sprawling heft of War and Peace, but thematically, is nevertheless almost as rich as his earlier novel.

The story is simple. The novel covers the life of Ivan Ilyich through his rise and eventual death. Ivan is a high-court judge who has achieved a well-regarded position within Russian society and is admired by friends and peers.

The bulk of the novella chronicles his illness and death. Ivan embarks on some deep soul searching during his illness which leads him to conclude that his seemingly contented life is not what he thought it was.

This is a thematically dense work which encompasses such ideas as the tyranny of bourgeois niceties, the terrible weak spots of the human heart, the primacy and elision of death. But more than anything, it is about the consequences of living without meaning, that is, without a true and abiding connection to one's life. It is a profoundly thoughtful and emotionally affecting work.

The audio book narration by Simon Prebble is perfect. He wrings all the meaning out of Tolstoy's text and performs the work with real intelligence and feeling. I have purchased other audio books read by Simon Prebble and he is a consistently superb narrator. This audio book receives the highest recommendation for content and performance.

Author

Author Bio: Leo Tolstoy

Author Bio: Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910) was born about two hundred miles from Moscow. His mother died when he was two, his father when he was nine. His parents were of noble birth, and Tolstoy remained acutely aware of his aristocratic roots, even when he later embraced doctrines of equality and the brotherhood of man. After serving in the army in the Caucasus and Crimea, where he wrote his first stories, he traveled and studied educational theories. In 1862 he married Sophia Behrs and for the next fifteen years lived a tranquil, productive life, finishing War and Peace in 1869 and Anna Karenina in 1877. In 1879 he underwent a spiritual crisis; he sought to propagate his beliefs on faith, morality, and nonviolence, writing mostly parables, tracts, and morality plays. Tolstoy died of pneumonia in 1910 at the age of eighty-two.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, Library CD
Category: Fiction/Classics
Runtime: 2.58
Audience: Adult
Language: English