The Death of Ivan Ilych

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich, hailed as one of the world's greatest masterpieces on the theme of death and dying, tells the tale of a worldly careerist and high court judge who has never given the inevitable nature of his death even a fleeting thought. But eventually, death makes itself known to him, and to his startled surprise, he is forced to acknowledge his own mortality. How can an unreflective man deal with his only moment of truth, asks Tolstoy? Following the release of Anna Karenina, Tolstoy experienced a terrible spiritual crisis that culminated in this brief novel. During the nine years that followed, he did not produce a single word of fiction. It is both a totally captivating and even horrifying window into the depths of death, and it is a powerful illustration of the prospect of attaining spiritual salvation.

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