Hero, meet your villain; or, never mind

It's a common trope in fiction: a final confrontation between the central hero of a story and its central villain. It's an important trope in Westerns, both on the page and screen -- Clint Eastwood's "Unforgiven" is just one famous example. And we see it in works of fiction that are too many to count: … Continue reading Hero, meet your villain; or, never mind

Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary Discuss Their Suicides

"Anna Karenina" is not quite letting me go. Partly that's because it was just that good. I went back to re-read Part 8; and generally I don't re-read books until years later; but I had to drink in that last section of the novel again, and slowly. Partly the book is hanging on because I've … Continue reading Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary Discuss Their Suicides

Anna Karenina – Parts 1 and 2 (of 8)

A few years after finishing “Anna Karenina,” Tolstoy sank into a spiritual funk or crisis that resulted in his work, “A Confession.”  In the latter work, he shares the following recollection from his formative years: The kind aunt with whom I lived, herself the purest of beings, always told me that there was nothing she … Continue reading Anna Karenina – Parts 1 and 2 (of 8)

Koheleth and Tolstoy

February 1, 2021 Reading “Koheleth” and Tolstoy's “Confession” back-to-back lifts both works for me.  Both works struggle with the fact that death is coming for everyone.  Both observe constantly how the good and the wicked have random rewards in this life; both hang on to the idea of knowledge/wisdom while questioning both its extent and … Continue reading Koheleth and Tolstoy