Tag: Leo Tolstoy

February 5, 2021  |  No Comments

Though it was published almost 40 years ago and describes a fictional civil war in South Africa, J.M. Coetzee’s short masterpiece Life and Times of Michael K might have been written about the ragged and riven USA in 2021. It’s not escapist reading, but then we go to high literature less to escape reality than … Read More

June 20, 2017  |  No Comments

Nobody ever said a Trump presidency would be poetic, and it isn’t. From midnight tweets full of babyish interjections, to a press secretary who sometimes sounds like he’s reading a Ouija board, the English language has in a few short months taken a beating — much harsher, remarkably, than the one George W. Bush gave … Read More

March 14, 2013  |  No Comments

I will be blogging this week about my new novel In the Land of the Living, just released by Little Brown. Here is an excerpt of the second blog, which appears on the website of the Jewish Book Council:

Some academics have observed that young Jewish writers do not mine their personal lives for material in … Read More

May 3, 2012  |  No Comments

When Leo Tolstoy was two, his mother died; when he was eight, his father died; and he writes movingly of a child mourning the death of both mother and father in his first novel Childhood, Boyhood, Youth. It’s one of the few novels that addresses the subject of childhood loss directly and realistically. The theme … Read More

April 10, 2011  |  No Comments

“That greatness is here we can have no doubt,” Virginia Woolf wrote of George Eliot in 1919, a century after Eliot was born (and christened with the name Mary Anne Evans).  “[A]s we recollect all that she dared and achieved … we must lay upon her grave whatever we have it in our power to … Read More

February 18, 2011  |  No Comments

“I only know two very real evils in life: remorse and illness,” Prince Andrei says to Pierre in War and Peace.  Life torments from within and without, according to Tolstoy, who, like the writers of the Hebrew bible, compasses the innermost human thoughts adrift in the chaos and cosmic rancor of history.

I’m not a quick … Read More

November 23, 2010  |  No Comments

The great short works of Tolstoy are in fact great, but they are not, unsurprisingly, short.  My edition of almost 700 pages approximates a cube (it will stand up by itself on any of its six faces), and it’s colored a dyspeptic puce as if to warn you in advance of the excess of it, … Read More