There is no explanation.
Written eight years after the publication of Anna Karenina—a time during which, despite the global success of his novels, Leo Tolstoy renounced fiction in favor of religious and philosophical tracts—The Death of Ivan Ilych represents perhaps the most keenly realized melding of Tolstoy’s spirituality with his artistic skills.
Here in a vibrant new translation, the tale of a judge who slowly comes to understand that his illness is fatal was inspired by Tolstoy’s observation at his local train station of hundreds of shackled prisoners being sent off to Siberia, many for petty crimes. When he learned that the sentencing judge had died, Tolstoy was roused to consider the judge’s thoughts during his final days—a study on the acceptance of mortality only deepened by the death, during its writing, of one of Tolstoy’s own young children.
The final result is a magisterial story, both chilling and beguiling in the fullness of its empathy, its quotidian detail, and the beauty of its prose, and is, as many have claimed it to be, one of the most moving novellas ever written.
The Art of The Novella Series
Too short to be a novel, too long to be a short story, the novella is generally unrecognized by academics and publishers. Nonetheless, it is a form beloved and practiced by literature's greatest writers. In the Art Of The Novella series, Melville House celebrates this renegade art form and its practitioners with titles that are, in many instances, presented in book form for the first time.
Vincent's second Delilah Marlow urban fantasy (after Menagerie) is a bravura example of fantasy series-building. Delilah and her diverse cohort of cryptids semihuman creatures of myth and legend who have been marginalized as objects of scientific study have rid themselves of exploitative menagerie master Rudolph Metzger. They're traveling incognito as a carnival when they are seized outside of Tucson, Ariz., by Willem Vandekamp, a cruel cryptobiologist who has perfected technology that suppresses cryptid defenses. Forced into Vandekamp's Savage Spectacle, where they must cater to the perverse desires of his wealthy clients, Delilah and her confederates use their unique talents to escape which, in Delilah's case, means channeling her burgeoning powers as a furiae, a merciless corrector of injustices. As in Delilah's first adventure, Vincent treats the plight of the cryptids with great sensitivity, providing them with complex personalities that make them seem more human than their persecutors. A late-breaking complication involving Delilah and her fear dearg protector, Gallagher, guarantees that fans of the series will eagerly anticipate its next chapter.