15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 28 July 1998
I abslutely love this book. It is riveting, encompassing, passionate, beautiful... There are so many adjectives to describe it. The novel seems to grab the reader by the heart and never lets go until the last word, and not even then. I've read it more times than I dare to count and find something new and engrossing each time. It is certainly the best novel by Tolstoy and I enjoyed it more than "War and Peace" and "Anna Karenina." Although this novel is not as famous as the two I just mentioned, it is certainly more touching and quite unforgettable. I just adore it!!!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 15 April 2008
I'm only half way through this but I am just so surprised by it that I thought I'd write something.
It's true that in Resurrection, the novelist's over-riding intent is to portray certain aspects of Russian society- class inequality, a corrupt and absurd legal institute, the emptiness of religious practise- in a powerfully interrogative and accusatory fashion, often at the cost of narrative and characterisation. There are no scenes (as yet) as beautiful as, say, Natasha and Nikolai Rostov remembering their childhood in War and Peace, or Levin in the fields with his serfs in Anna Karenina. Nekhlyudov, Resurrection's protagonist, spends the novel in the grip of a moral paroxysm that leads him to scrutinise the idleness and depravity of his lauded lifestly, and in this portrayal there is little of Tolstoy's usual concern for the minutae of personality that make his other characters so wonderfully compelling.
All of this said, the scrutiny, compassion, anger and precision of this novel is staggering, shocking and utterly riveting. As a masterwork of narrative literature it is, in my opinion, some way short of Toltoy's two more famous epics but it is, nevertheless, an exceptionally forceful work.
(While writing this a (perhaps) suitable companion-piece to Resurrection occured to me- The Devils, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky: that too has a narrative that is occasionally sublimated by its creator's over-riding wish to portray a certain aspect of Russian life in the most serious and critical light).
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 30 March 2009
Resurrection is the story of how a man who raped a girl attempts to redeem himself by trying to save her from gaol when she is convicted of murder many years after. To the consternation of friends, family and society he gave up (well, most of) his privileged life to atone for his crime. Through it Tolstoy decimates the russian establishment (church, state, judiciary, aristocracy) and while at it also one of our most cherished notions - a landowner's right to own land.
The writing is superb and beautiful (it's Tolstoy), preachy and petulant and yet never loses sympathy for the hearts and minds of those he is trying to influence. Tolstoy is here close to the end of his long life and as one who has witnessed vast injustice feels, perhaps righteously so, that he had earned the right to call the powers that be to account. And he does it ruthlessly.
The political, social and economic conditions that led to such exploitation and disenfranchisement of the russian poor are still with us perhaps glaringly more so in the free markets dogma where earning a buck all too often trumps human dignity. They don't write books like this any more. They would not translate well on film.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 27 February 2011
This was the first Tolstoy book I had picked up and it remains my favourite. It is all about a prostitute who is up on a murder trial and Dmitri a nobleman who is is the jury. He realizes that he knew this prostitute from years ago when she was a servant to his household and he had fallen in love with her, had an affair with her, raped her and left her as she did not have the status to marry him. When he realizes that the woman who is on trial is the same woman who had been a servant to him years ago he realizes that he is partly guilty for her being in this situation. If he had stayed with her and loved her, he could have prevented this whole situation.
He visits her in prison and talks to her, he talks to all the other prisoners and realizes their social sufferings too and comes to the realization that the aristocratic world that he lives in is a fake world ignorant to the poverty and the conditions in which the lower class people live in. He seeks to forgive himself and hopes that the woman he once loved could find a way to forgive him. This is a very spiritual book, and I think it reflects Tolstoy's spirituality and his relationship with society as he himself was an aristocrat. Apparently it was his last major work which also says something as well. I really loved this book it is so deep and compassionate, I found myself absollutely gripped and wanted Dmitri to find spiritual peace.
It is also a huge criticism on the prision conditions at the time, so there are also parts within the book which describe the most terrible conditions in which prisoners were forced to sleep under, with rats crawling all over the place, it is all in this book and I highly recommend it to anybody who is going through spiritual changes themselves as they will identitfy with the character and how he seeks for peace through trying to help others through understanding them and then inacting upon what he had learnt.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 20 January 1998
This is a great book that shows how a man with wealth and influence in turn of the century Russia, can attempt to right the wrongs in his life. This man's internal struggle with the wrong he did a peasent girl makes the reader ponder the question of morals in his own life. The main character gave up everything that he had enjoyed in his life to try to right his mistake. So far of alll the tolstoy books that I've read this by far is best.
For the first half of this book, I thought I was going to finish it thinking it was as brilliant as Crime and Punishment. But nah.
The first half, focussing on a Russian aristocrat who serves on a jury only to find that the defendant is a woman he once treated shamefully, is brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. There's a moral heart that beats fiercely in our hero, and whilst it's a bit naive it's very endearing. The psychological portraits of both he and the woman Maslova are absolutely brilliant. The writing is clear and warm and big-hearted, at the same time as being exciting and philosophical and moral. I was immensely impressed. And to be honest I still am, but by the time page 350 rolled round, things were getting a bit repetitive and didn't get much better. The books gets a bit mired in its moral message, and our hero constant efforts to give away his land to his peasant and improve the lots of all the mistreated prisoners he comes across - noble aims, indeed, but they don't make for exciting reading one after another after another.
I finished the book very much looking forward to reading more Tolstoy, but a little disappointed that the absolutely brilliant first half didn't reflect the whole.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 9 April 2000
A beautifully decriptive story set in Russia 100 years ago. Even the briefest characters are given personality and life, and also much humour. It took me several weeks to read the book, but it is so well written I found myself remembering exactly where i left the story, and never had to re-read any of it. Probably the first book I have ever read in which I can remember the story from start to finish. A proper 'old fashioned' tale, but with many thoughts and ideas which are equally relevant in todays society.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 January 2013
This is a generally under-rated novel by Tolstoy but is as fascinating as his other two greats. This particular edition is introduced by a must-read essay by a Tolstoy specialist.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 September 2013
I enjoy the classics. They never stop intriguing readers with their content. I enjoy reading it very much.
Recommend to anyone who enjoys reading.
20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 21 August 2000
The 'Ressurection' came into my hands after having read virtually everything else by Tolstoy, and for it's lack of reputation caught me entirely by surprise. Here we find Tolstoy the great storyteller, a genius whose strong personality sometimes prevents him from understanding his characters. It is a great paradox that his would be the great literary heroines, like Anna Karenina, when it is in the characterization of women that a careful reader can notice a lack of intimate knowledge and real understanding. Yet in the background there is always a man, crucified between moral corectness and a hipocrisical society, each of those men a part of Tolstoy himself, and it is exactly in the deep, cruelly exact self-portrait that his mastery is undisputed. 'Ressurection' features a female character strong enough to carry a novel; yet it is the feeble male character that occupies our attention as we watch him shed the protection offered by the norms of his class, to search for redemption, or resurrection. It is a novel hard and unfrilled, yet there is something in its shattering sincerity, in the drama of its gestures, that makes it truly great. Together with 'War and Peace' and a short novel, 'Father Sergei', it is to be considered the pinnacle of Tolstoy's opus.