The Last Station: A Novel of Tolstoy's Final Year
8 journalers for this copy...
The entire novel is told through five voices – a device which takes a little getting used to but is ultimately very rewarding as it provides insight into the minds and motivations of those who surround, nay smother, Tolstoy.
Intense and compelling, The Last Station reads like fiction even though it isn’t, but it is also enlightening and troubling. While Parini has drawn his chief characters finely, there is scarcely one with whom the reader feels any sympathy. Tolstoy’s daughter Sasha is perhaps the most likeable among the motley crew but even she turns out to the self-serving. Initially, the reader is tempted to feel sorry for Tolstoy himself but it rapidly becomes apparent that he too is as much responsible for the scheming and selfishness that surrounds him in his final months.
This is a remarkable book, a remarkable achievement and well worth reading but it comes with a health warning too to those who have not read Tolstoy previously: you will want to by the time you have finished this.
I'm going to open this book as a ring: see journal entry below.
Update: Okay, I blame Canongate for this, but I've just bought copies of Anna Karennia and War and Peace! When am I ever going to get such mammoth works read?
Some brief "rules"
* Journal the book when you receive it.
* PM the next person on the list for their address when you receive it so as to try to avoid hold-ups later on.
* If you don't hear from the next participant within a few days, PM them again. If after a few more days you still haven't heard from them, PM me to let me know, and move on to the next person on the list.
* Read (and hopefully enjoy!) Don't feel pressurised to read it in a rush (and remember that life gets in the way sometimes for all of us!) but if you need to keep hold of the book for longer than say six weeks or a couple of months, please journal to let us know.
* Journal again when you've read it to let us know what you think of it!
* Surface/economy mail is fine, but please make a note in a journal entry so the person you're sending to has a rough idea of when to expect it.
PinkyDinky (UK, prefers UK/EU)
CaterinaAnna (UK, anywhere)
Kerriou (UK, prefers UK/EU)
Soleille (Germany, anywhere)
Iojima (France, anywhere)
Playtheman (Australia, no preference given)
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
On its way to PinkyDinky
Have details for CaterinaAnna. May be end of week before I can post it on as my little boy has got chicken pox.
I agree with the previous reviewers that it was easy to dislike everyone in the book, but I was able to find some sympathy for most of them. The one exception was Chertkov, maybe because he was the one major character who was never, as far as I remember, given the chance to tell a part of the story himself. While I didn't agree with or like the actions of the others, I felt I could at least understand their motivations, why each of them thought they were doing the right thing, and that made it easier to accept their actions. However there was nothing to make me think of Chertkov as anything but a cynical glory-seeker.
On my to-be-read-one-day are some of Tolstoy's more philosophical writings, as my quote to remember from this book is: God is not love, but the more love there is in man, the more is God made manifest in him, and the more truly does he exist.
I finished this book yesterday in, of all places, the very city where kerriou lives. Had I only been organised and sent the 'your turn' PM as the end of the book drew near I could have saved the postage!
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Put in the post-box on my way home from work.
Great timing as I finished a book last night and was trying to decide what to read next. Problem solved.
I sympathised mostly with Sofya Andreyevna who, despite being despised by all the other characters, continued to fight for her childrens' inheritance. She also wasn't afraid to voice a few home truths when her husband was surrounded by his sychophants and hangers-on.
Thank you for sharing Rivercassini.
Posted off to Soleille this morning.
As with most 19th century authors, while I might admire their works, I'm grateful to not have to be around them as persons- Tolstoy was a totally offputting character even though I found compassion for the old man. The character I most related to was Sofya - I think being surrounded by the people she was and with a position in society that did not allow her to just get the h*** out of there, it's not surprising that she turned a bit crazy- and she was not even paranoid, in those assumptions she was proven totally right...
A great book even though one I would not have been looking for without the Canongate offer, so I'm especially grateful for this discovery.
Have PMed the next "station" so this can move along again.
Am I the only one? as Noel Coward said looking around the room filled with men in bow ties and he in a lounge suit.
Thanks Margot for the photograph of the French countryside with a sandy creek meandering through the farms.