As I wrote in my thoughts on Anna Karinena, Tolstoy inhabits people. He gets to know them. He lives in them and inhabits their souls. In this case, that of a jealous murderer.
And Tolstoy writes from the jealous murderer’s viewpoint with sympathy. I didn’t feel sympathy for him but Tolstoy wrote with sympathy. He didn’t condemn his creation. He simply depicted him truly – without judgement. Which is off putting. Does this mean Tolstoy agree with his character? He seems to hate women, kids and sex. And possibly himself as well as humanity in general. Tolstoy doesn’t flinch. No. Of course, Tolstoy doesn’t agree with his protagonist. But this character of his is a human being, like all of us but one whose flaws overcome him and lead him into killing his wife.
I could have done without the killer’s rationalization and speechifiying for half the novella. Or it could have at least been present in more of a debate or dialogue rather than an endless monologue.