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Download The Last Station: A Novel of Tolstoy's Last Year Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Last Station: A Novel of Tolstoys Last Year Audiobook, by Jay Parini Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.36 out of 53.36 out of 53.36 out of 53.36 out of 53.36 out of 5 3.36 (33 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jay Parini Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2008 ISBN: 9780739369982
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As Leo Tolstoy’s life draws to a tumultuous close, his tempestuous wife and most cunning disciple are locked in a whirlwind battle for the great man’s soul. Torn between his professed doctrine of poverty and chastity and the reality of his enormous wealth and thirteen children, Tolstoy dramatically flees his home, only to fall ill at a tiny nearby rail station. The famous (and famously troubled) writer believes he is dying alone, unaware that over a hundred newspapermen camp outside awaiting hourly reports on his condition.
 
Jay Parini moves deftly between a colorful cast of characters to create a stunning portrait of one of the world’s most treasured authors. Dancing between fact and fiction, The Last Stationis a brilliant and moving literary performance. - See more at: http://www.randomhouse.com/audio/catalog/display.php?isbn=9780739369982#sthash.Kdu3howu.dpuf

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Quotes & Awards

  • Utterly satisfying. . . . A loving and thoughtful rendering of the complex character of Leo Tolstoy. . . . Parini captures marvelously the paradoxical nature of this genius whose mind and body seemed ever to be at war. Washington Post Book World
  • Fascinating. . . . Parini has made a valuable contribution to our understanding of Tolstoy. Los Angeles Times Book Review
  • A subtle masterpiece. . . . Tolstoy himself would probably have recognized the work of a true artist. The Times Literary Supplement
  • One of those rare works of fiction that manages to demonstrate both scrupulous historical research and true originality of voice and perception. . . . What lifts this book high above most historical novels is Jay Parini’s remarkable ability to enter the minds of his characters. The New York Times Book Review
  • A powerful story. . . . Witty [and] immensely moving. . . . Parini draws the reader into the tumult of the Tolstoy household. Christian Science Monitor
  • One of the best historical novels written in the last twenty years. Gore Vidal
  • Vivid and moving. . . . It is to Jay Parini’s credit that he has been able to flesh out the saga and make it ever new, to give it a shape and resonance we might have thought unimaginable. Newsday
  • This wonderful book combines scholarship and sensitive re-creation of a man’s struggle to be true to himself and to others. Dallas Morning News
  • The Last Station offers proof that the historical novel has a lot left to say to and about literature. And any novel with as perfectly beautiful a final sentence as this one deserves to be read all the way through. Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Poets who write novels are a strange and wonderful breed, in love with language as well as character. In The Last Station, Jay Parini has tackled an awesomely ambitious novel and succeeded brilliantly. Erica Jong
  • Tolstoy imagined—and illuminated. Boston Globe
  • [A] coup of period re-creation. . . . [Parini] is very good at showing how an artist or visionary can be at once idealistic, mundane and incompetently avaricious. Chicago Tribune 
  • Jay Parini has written a stylish, beautifully paced and utterly beguiling novel. The Sunday Times (London)
  • Entertaining. . . . A three-dimensional portrait of a complex literary figure. . . . Biographers have described the events of Tolstoy’s life in great detail, but none so insightfully and eloquently as Jay Parini in The Last Station. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
  • A gem of a historical novel. . . . A novel with a lyric tone that manages to extract excitement from an unlikely subject. Newark Star-Ledger
  • A searching view of the last year in the life of the author of War and Peace. . . . A kaleidoscopically rich and skillful novel. Publishers Weekly
  • An impressively knowing and sensitive performance, a wistful late twentieth-century tribute to the giant conflicts of a more titanic age. The Observer (London)
  • A skillful tapestry. . . . The Last Station illumines the larger than fiction life of a literary giant. USA Today

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nicky | 2/19/2014

    " I felt like there was lack of character development, especially of Sophia. And what was the point of all the different names for the same person? I did learn some about Tolstoy so not all was wasted. The author did a good job writing and telling the story. I guess it just wasn't that interesting to me as I don't care much for family squabbles. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Charissa | 2/14/2014

    " This book wasn't extremely exciting, in fact it moved rather slowly at times, but it was still a really interesting look at the last year of Leo Tolstoy's life. What made it most intesting is the fact that it's told from multiple points of view, not just one, so you get an idea what everyone around Tolstoy was going through during that time period. I learned a lot about Tolstoy from reading this novel. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Douglas Armstrong | 2/13/2014

    " At first, the novel is a compelling read, detailing the titanic struggle over the loyalty and life work of Leo Tolstoy, pitting his wife of 48 years against Tolstoy's ideological best friend, who wants all of the novelist's copyrights to become public so everyone will have free access to the master's words. The narrative works well for 150 pages or so, told in the separate viewpoints of Tolstoy's wife, his friend, his secretary, his daughter, his doctor, and Tolstoy's own diaries (which, unfortunately, are not all that distinguishable in voice). However, it's his wife's constant hysterics and the protracted battle that inevitably become tedious and irritating without advancing the story quickly enough in the second half of the book as it heads toward the final crisis. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Fay | 2/2/2014

    " I found most of the book to be dull. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tess | 1/27/2014

    " Gorgeous! I adored this book :) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Meme | 1/25/2014

    " Our book club went to see the movie and then I read the book. Jay Parini is a professor at Middlebury where I went to college. The movie was terrific (Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer); the book tells the story in voices of several people: Tolstoy himself, his wife Sophia, his amenuensis, his young assistant, and his daughter, interspersed with poems by Parini. I never knew much about Tolstoy in his later years when he was trying to give up material possessions for a spiritual life, long after his huge successes with Anna Karenina and War and Peace. Worth reading - and rent the movie! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gail | 1/18/2014

    " This fictional treatment of Tolstoy's last days and his tempestuous family relationships is told from various points of view. My sympathies shifted as the viewpoint changed so I think the author did a good job of getting inside his characters and portraying the particularity of this "unhappy family." "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Liz | 1/18/2014

    " A good prep/background for the movie, which I'd love to see soon. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jenny | 1/17/2014

    " Really interesting historical fiction about Tolstoy's months alive. Having known nothing about him before, this book definitely sparked my interest. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maya Lang | 1/7/2014

    " Learned a lot about Tolstoy, but this felt more like a biography than a novel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jean | 12/28/2013

    " I enjoyed this book, in fact i was so intrigued by the book that I researched the Tolstoy's lives, then went on to read Anna Karenina. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marie | 12/20/2013

    " A remarkable portrait of two very strong people, Tolstoy the dreamer/romantic and his wife who wants to be sure their children receive a legacy from Tolstoy. Can't wait to see the movie! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 bookinglibrarian | 12/17/2013

    " The excellent film makes a wonderful companion piece to this more in-depth novel upon which it's based. In the book, the story is told from multiple characters' perspectives and it's fascinating to learn in what esteem Tolstoy was held by his fellow Russians and thinkers around the world "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Brielle | 11/22/2013

    " Really more of a 1.5. This was odd, and made me rather dislike Tolstoy. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melissa | 9/7/2013

    " Interesting story based on the final year of Leo Tolstoy's wife with most of the point-of-view coming from his wife who he became estranged from. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Coalbanks | 5/28/2013

    " Written as & from the journals/letters of the characters with some of the writer's own imagination linking it all together. Works well for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ida | 4/28/2013

    " Very nice story! almost cry in the end...! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Wendy | 3/26/2013

    " If this novel is accurate, Leo Tolstoy was surrounded by a cast of truly irritating people. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tami | 3/7/2013

    " I thought maybe this book will convince me to check out some Tolstoy's books, but it really didn't. I love this one, though - beautiful writing style. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Erin | 1/18/2013

    " I enjoyed the writing, and was happy to learn more about Tolstoy, but routinely became frustrated by the immense distrust and dislike among the characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Demisty Bellinger | 10/16/2012

    " A quiet love story, or four (really, these other loves are not exactly romantic), atop an uneasy dying. The world Parini creates around Tolstoy, his family, and his followers is tangible. The reverence for Tolstoy's work is admirable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Diane | 5/31/2012

    " Parini did a good job of creating the factions surrounding Tolstoy - to the point where reading sometimes left me stressed and agitated. What a strange man was Tolstoy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 REDD | 7/10/2011

    " A fast and enjoyable read. Can hardly wait for the movie adaptation starring Christopher Plummer (L.Tolstoy) and Helen Mirren (Sofiya) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer (JC-S) | 6/25/2011

    " This novel is based on the last year of Leo Tolstoy's life. By combining fact an fiction, Jay Parini provides both an interesting novel and an interpretation of a fascinating man. I doubt that I'll watch the movie: Mr Parini's imagery is all the visual interpretation I need. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alan | 6/15/2011

    " Adding to my Russian literature excursion. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eugénia | 3/29/2011

    " muito bom, sobretudo para quem, como eu, leu Ana Karenina e Guerra e Paz, este livro é notável. Vou ter que ler novamente Guerra e Paz. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hermien | 3/29/2011

    " An interesting Tolstoyan experience and a pleasant read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Fay | 3/21/2011

    " I found most of the book to be dull. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alan | 3/9/2011

    " Adding to my Russian literature excursion. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tess | 3/9/2011

    " Gorgeous! I adored this book :) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Erin | 11/22/2010

    " I enjoyed the writing, and was happy to learn more about Tolstoy, but routinely became frustrated by the immense distrust and dislike among the characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rebecca | 11/20/2010

    " Jay Parini tells the story of Leo Tolstoy's final year from multiple points of view in The Last Station. This style of writing--and the fact that he's sympathetic to all viewpoints--gives this short book a sense of depth. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Diane | 9/11/2010

    " Parini did a good job of creating the factions surrounding Tolstoy - to the point where reading sometimes left me stressed and agitated. What a strange man was Tolstoy. "

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About the Author

Jay Parini is Axinn Professor of English at Middlebury College, Vermont. His six novels also include Benjamin’s Crossing and The Apprentice Lover. His volumes of poetry include The Art of Subtraction: New and Selected Poems. In addition to biographies of Gore Vidal, John Steinbeck, Robert Frost, and William Faulkner, he has written a volume of essays on literature and politics, as well as The Art of Teaching. He edited the Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature and writes regularly for the Guardian and other publications.