The Last Station: A Novel of
Tolstoy's Last Year
by Jay Parini
"It is not an easy thing to alter the trajectory of your life. People have expectations on your behalf. You come to believe them yourself." — Jay Parini
This is a wonderful evocation of Tolstoy's last days, the people surrounding him and the aura created by the event. Parini captures all the excitement and intrigue for here was not just a literary icon but a very wealthy man who, ironically, had no interest in the very wealth that he had amassed. Each chapter in the book is written as if in the first person by six different voices, including Tolstoy himself, Sophia, Vladmir Chertkov (Tolstoy’s companion and promoter of his work) and Tolstoy’s secretary, Valentin Bulgakov. His wife, Sophia, is portrayed showing signs of hysteria and paranoia as she tried to protect her families inheritance from the group of Tolstoyans formed around Vladmir Chertkov, who felt that the great man’s legacy belonged to the world. While it helps to have some familiarity with Tolstoy's earlier years this is still a good read for those who do not. Just as Tolstoy was a writer, larger than life, he becomes, in death, a mythic figure.
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