10 Lev Tolstoy books you need to readBy Vika https://pictolic.com/en/article/10-lev-tolstoy-books-you-need-to-read
It is difficult to choose only ten books from the entire collected works of the author. But we tried.
This work is the most childish acquaintance with Leo Tolstoy. Part of the biographical trilogy "Childhood" is one of the first attempts to analyze human feelings and thoughts, to reveal their nature and origin. The author carefully observes his hero, little Nikolai (Tolstoy himself), at the transitional stage of his life, when his father takes him to Moscow, away from home and his beloved mother, personifying purity and comfort. She later dies, after which Nikolai's happy childhood ends abruptly. Tolstoy explores in detail the shame, resentment, embarrassment, excitement, and other feelings that his young self experienced.
2. Sevastopol stories.
Looking at later portraits of the grey-bearded sage, it is hard to imagine that Tolstoy was once a brave young officer. Nevertheless, he served in the Caucasus for several years, and during the Crimean War of 1853-56, he spent almost a year in Sevastopol, even commanding a battery there. It was a difficult time for the writer, who captured all the horrors of the war in his Sevastopol Stories. The first of three stories published at the height of the war made a huge impression on the public, eager for news from the front. In fact, it was the first realistic work about the war.
3. War and peace.
Not a single review of Tolstoy's works could fail to mention his great work, which his wife Sofya Andreevna copied by hand several times, making endless corrections. In War and Peace, Tolstoy described historical military events and their impact on the lives of several generations. He captured Moscow and St. Petersburg, the fate of entire noble families with unusually deep psychological portraits of their heroes: the young Natasha Rostova, the grumpy old Prince Bolkonsky, even Napoleon himself. The war of 1812 against France in the mass consciousness is often perceived through the prism of Tolstoy's masterpiece. His original plan was to write a novel about the Decembrists, but in researching the 1825 uprising, he traced its roots back to that war and set out to shed light on how it turned the fate of Russia upside down.
4. Prisoner of the Caucasus.
The name is a clear reference to the poem of the same name by the national poet of Russia Alexander Pushkin. Written 50 years later, it concerns two Russian officers captured by mountaineers when their comrade fails to cover them and runs away. The protagonist is trying in every conceivable way to escape from captivity, in which he is helped by the daughter of one of the kidnappers, in whose barn he is being held captive. Readers see it as a story about war, honor, and dignity, mainly for children and teenagers. It has been filmed several times, including in the 1996 film by Sergei Bodrov Sr., which takes place during the First Chechen War in the 1990s.
5. Anna Karenina.
Tolstoy's admirers were divided into two camps: those for whom "War and Peace" is his main achievement, and those who say: "Anna Karenina". However, this second threshold, written ten years later, is less extensive in scope and chronology. Here Tolstoy focuses on the nature of happy and unhappy family life - a topic that occupied the author. It raises a number of ethical questions: is it permissible to leave a child for the sake of a loved one? Is it possible for the sake of children's happiness to forgive a changeable husband? The novel also features a thinly veiled self-portrait as Konstantin Levin, who abandons social life to plow the fields with the peasants.
6. Death of Ivan Ilyich.
Death occupies a central place in Russian literature. And this novel is the quintessence of the Russian attitude towards her, an attempt to look death in the face. Tolstoy describes in detail the process of the death of Ivan Ilyich. At the very end, when Ivan breathed his last, the horror of death leaves him, and, as Tolstoy suggests, death itself disappears. As, indeed, is life.
7. Kreutzer sonata.
Tolstoy's last novel, which he himself considered his best work. This is the story of the redemption of a once promiscuous officer who seduced his aunt's innocent adopted daughter and, leaving her pregnant and with little to no money, abandoned her. For him, it's just an affair, but the girl's life is torn apart. Years later, they meet in court: he is like an uninterested juror, she is like a defendant. Upon learning her gruesome story, the former officer has an internal breakdown.
9. Hadji Murat.
Tolstoy returns to the theme of the Caucasus, basing the plot on a true story that caught his attention more than 40 years ago while serving in the army in this region. Hadji - Murat, the right hand of Imam Shamil, passes to the Russian side. The army command receives him as an honored guest. Hadji Murat promises to convince Dagestan to make an alliance with the Russians if they help him rescue his family from Shamil's captivity. Of course, not everyone believes that the "defector" is real...
10. Father Sergius.
In the 1880s, Tolstoy experienced a serious spiritual upheaval that forced him to reconsider his attitude to faith and morality. In "Father Sergius" he describes an almost exemplary spiritual path that a person can follow. A hot-tempered young officer, Stepan, breaks off his engagement to his beautiful fiancee after learning that she was once the mistress of the tsar, whom he greatly admired. Stepan goes to the monastery, where he becomes Father Sergius. However, even there, in the monastery, he cannot find the true faith and is distracted from the righteous way of life, visiting pilgrims. Eventually, he leaves the monastery to wander and seek his path in charitable acts and caring for the sick. Tolstoy paints an intimate psychological portrait of his protagonist at all stages of his spiritual quest.