Sunday, April 23, 2017

Simon Parke's "Conversations with Leo Tolstoy": Audiobook Review

Conversations with Leo Tolstoy - Air Force Digital Media Program
I wanted to hear about Tolstoy, as well as listen to some of his classic works, long or short. Simon Parke's Conversations with Leo Tolstoy featured in online holdings as the only choice. Part of Parke's clever series using himself as a slightly hesitant interviewer hosting great thinkers, here Andy Harrison enlivens Tolstoy in his own words. However, this encounter is long after his mid-life conversion which lured him away from literary circles as he pursued his dogged spiritual quests.

It makes me wonder about Parke with Mozart, Van Gogh, Meister Eckhardt, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Jesus. It's a pleasingly disparate set of topics that Parke, assuming the hesitant delivery of a "Very British" pundit-journalist, delves into with Leo. Not only violence, war, and pacifism, but marriage, belief, science, and vegetarianism. For the audio, Andy Harrison fulminates appropriately, as his passionate advocacy of abstention from many delights as well as cruelties characterized his later life.

He despised King Lear, too. So, while I did not get much of the literary fame and fictional achievements, I did learn in these in-depth four hours quite a lot about Tolstoy's spirit. You understand better why his family relations were so tumultuous, and why he courted great fame. (Amazon US 4/20/17)

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