Books in Translation, #2: The Death of Ivan Ilyich, by Leo Tolstoy

The Death of Ivan IlyichThe Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: This book should not be read the day you find out that your grandfather has passed and you were sent home from work because you were sobbing too hard to be intelligible.

Even if you’ve already finished half of it and there’s not much left.

Even if the first chapter, with work acquaintance friends discussing the death, then one showing up to the house to pay his respects, only to feel disaffected and take off for a card game, is actually pretty darkly funny.

Even if what you’ve read since then has been a pretty matter-of-fact discussion of Ivan’s career and life so far, and hasn’t really been sad at all.

Because when the turn comes, with the mysterious illness and the search for a diagnosis and the slow decline at home and the alienation from all those who are well and do not understand, who want to go on with their concerns of life and the living…

Well, it’s best to put the book down and come back to it in a few days. Go cuddle with the kids on the couch.

Called a masterpiece on death and dying.

I concur.

View all my reviews


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