Author: Leo Tolstoy
Genre: Adult Fiction
Reviewed by: Stephen
Serving on the jury at a murder trial, Prince Dmitri Nekhlyudov is devastated when he sees the prisoner – Katyusha, a young maid he seduced and abandoned years before. As Dmitri faces the consequences of his actions, he decides to give up his life of wealth and luxury to devote himself to rescuing Katyusha, even if it means following her into exile in Siberia. But can a man truly find redemption by saving another person?
What I particularly like about this book was the use of character development and also the vast range of social commentary about late 19th century Russia that the book gives an insight into. My favourite character was Prince Dmitri, as it was almost a representation of Tolstoy himself, who gives up his entitlements to find purpose in life. You could almost feel the characters were that realistic and the amount of characters and subplots in the stories is amazing. The story always kept me guessing what might happen next and the reader is left in anxiety over the question “Will Dmitri be absolved”? My favourite part of the book was when Tolstoy was describing how ranks of prisoners fresh from cold prison cells were marching through the streets when the temperature is very high where people are ultimately left dying and it describes the sheer brutality of the system Dmitri sees.
There was a large array of sad scenes throughout the book that Tolstoy is a master at describing as makes commentary on the terrible conditions that the Russian serfs are subject to by the landowners in the book. It is almost a historical background of events prior to the Russian Revolution of 1917. This story is definitely a page turner and once you start it will be hard to put it down. I would recommend this book to an adult audience, and those with an interest in classic fiction or history. I would give the Book 5/5 stars and it is one of my favourites.