Saturday 25 March 2023

Book Review: Great Short Works of Leo Tolstoy (Classics)

Title: Great Short Works of Leo Tolstoy
Author: Leo Tolstoy
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 720
Format: Paperback
Genre: Classics
Source: Xmas Gift

Of all Russian writers Leo Tolstoy is probably the best known to the Western world, largely because of War and Peace, his epic in prose, and Anna Karenina, one of the most splendid novels in any language. But during his long lifetime Tolstoy also wrote enough shorter works to fill many volumes. Here reprinted in one volume are his eight finest short novels, together with "Alyosha the Pot", the little tale that Prince Mirsky described as "a masterpiece of rare perfection."


Great Short Works of Leo Tolstoy was a pleasant enough collection of novellas and short stories, but it didn't blow me away as much as I thought it would. About half the stories caught and held my attention, but a couple of the others I found rather dull, and overall I didn't think these works had the impact of his longer-form writings. If you are a fan of Tolstoy already, you'll probably find something to enjoy here, but I wouldn't necessarily suggest those new to his works start here unless they really can't face the length of Anna Karenina. This collection gets four stars from me.

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