Resurrection

By Leo Tolstoy - Rating: 7/10

In the 1960s Fritz Eichenburg illustrated many classics as part of the Heritage Press series of books. This one contains around 17 excellent wood engravings and was worth reading just for that.

This is the first book by Tolstoy I have ever read. I didn’t know what to expect. The translation (Leo Weiner) was very readable and was, with the exception of the ridiculously long Russian names, pretty easy to understand.

Resurrection is about a man who discovers that an innocent girl he seduced a decade ago has been accused of murder. His actions from ten years ago are the trigger that drove her to a life of vice and crime. His mission becomes righting the wrongs of his past. The first book in the novel is fantastic as it follows his efforts to amend his wrongs and save Maslova. The last two books of the novel begin to lose focus on the narrative and concern themselves more with political ideas: the oppression of the poor and mistreatment of prisoners. As thoughtful as this commentary is, it doesn’t make for fun reading. In the end his solution is just to forgive everybody (Jeffery Dahmer would be pleased). At least I now know about Henry George’s Single Tax.

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