Perhaps the greatest of all his novels is Leo Tolstoy's final novel, Resurrection.
Resurrection has become one of the most widely read and influential books ever written.
The story is straightforward: in his youth, Prince Dmitri Nekhlyudov seduced and impregnated a young servant, Maslova.
Years later, on jury duty, he encounters her again — she's a prostitute on trial for murder.
Nekhlyudov resolves to rescue her and atone for his sins.
He follows Maslova down, down, down — through the corrupt Russian courts into a filthy prison and finally on a long, brutal march to Siberia.
A searing psychological tale of guilt, anger, and forgiveness, Resurrection is at the same time a panoramic description of social life in Russia at the end of the nineteenth century, reflecting its author's outrage at the social injustices of the world in which he lived.
What makes it so dark is its extreme candor.
Upon publication, the Russian authorities immediately censored it
Tolstoy does not flinch at the places that we, instinctively shy away from: a clerical error adds 15 years to Maslova's sentence; a man dies of thirst in a crowded town, just feet away from water; women are raped in captivity; men cannibalize other men; everywhere is poverty and debasement.
Published in hundreds of editions and translated into virtually every modern language, it has not been out of print since 1899.
LEO TOLSTOY (1828-1910), one of the giants of Russian literature, transformed the art of fiction. Author of numerous novels and short stories, including War And Peace, Anna Karenina, and The Death of Ivan Ilyich, The Kingdom of God is Within You, and countless other literary masterpieces, he is considered to be a central figure in the development of the modern novel.