1910. Anna Karenina and War and Peace have made Leo Tolstoy the world's most famous author. But fame comes at a price. In the tumultuous final year of his life, Tolstoy is desperate to find respite, so leaves his large family and the hounding press behind and heads into the wilderness. Too ill to venture beyond the tiny station of Astapovo, he believes his last days will pass in isolation. But as we learn through the journals of those closest to him, the battle for Tolstoy's soul will not be a peaceful one. Jay Parini introduces, translates and edits this collection of Tolstoy's autobiographical writing, diaries, and letters related to the last year of Tolstoy's life published to coincide with the 2009 film of Parini's novel The Last Station: A Novel of Tolstoy's Final Year.
Jay Parini is Axinn Professor of English at Middlebury College, Vermont. His six novels include The Last Station.Count Leo Tolstoy was born in 1828. He took part in the Crimean War, and married Sofya Andreyevna Behrs in 1862. Over the next fifteen years they had thirteen children and Tolstoy managed his vast estates in the Volga Steppes, continued his educational projects, cared for his peasants and wrote War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877). A Confession (1879-82) marked a spiritual crisis in his life. In 1901 he was excommuincated by the Russian Holy Synod. He died in 1910, in the course of a dramamtic flight from home, at the small railway station of Astapovo.