I was given a book of Tolstoy stories yesterday. The first story was Father Sergius, which has one completely shocking scene but for the rest is rather dull with its emphasis on religion and duty (most of which is self-imposed). The next story was Master and Man which was excellent. It really gives you a feel for the time and the place and concludes with an amazing transformation. Lastly was Hadji Murat, which I am still reading. It's set in the 1850s and it's rather depressing to learn that even then the Russians and the Chechens were fighting. I'm not sure yet where the story is going but apparently it is based on a historical character.
Hadji Murat was preceded by an introduction provided by the translator. I've left that till after I've read the story though as I think that if it's well written the story will provide you with enough of the context to be able to understand it. I'll read the introduction later to fill in any gaps I was wondering about.
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