What I missed about reading these stories as opposed to the previous Tolstoy that I’ve read this year is the personal. What I’ve grown to love about Tolstoy is his characters. His insight into humanity and how he can describe the common psychology that binds us – from aristocracy to peasant in his time and our modern equivalents.
In these “Sketches”, that is gone. Maybe it’s not the point Tolstoy was going for. Or possibly he didn’t have the maturity or skill yet to do that. They are good reading none-the-less and a nice historical insight. But I did get a flash of the Tolstoy to come during the final ‘December’ sketch as the fear of battle came into the character. That Tolstoy communicated brilliantly.
This is my final Tolstoy of the year. But I’m sure I’ll be revisiting him again.