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Childhood, Boyhood, Youth by Leo Tolstoy
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Childhood, Boyhood, Youth

by Leo Tolstoy

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A tender, sensitive book, and partly autobiographical - but only partly.

Tolstoy had a difficult childhood, and at this time in his life, after seeing the Crimean War, and having been through so much - a difficult childhood, with both parents dying young, we see both the intense frustration he has with the world, but also his sensitivity and goodness - his ability to understand people, which so colors the rest of his work. It is partly his own life shown here, but also the childhood he wished he had. He paints these innocent scenes so well that one can recognize their own self in it - or is that just me, with my delusions of grandeur of being like him in some way?

In any case, a very good book. Recommended for Tolstoy fans, as well as anyone reminiscing about childhood. ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
This purports to be fiction but supposedly it is autobiographical. One can see why Tolstoy would not hold it forth as autobiography, since the narrator is an annoying and unlikeable person, who does stupid and gauche things repeatedly. But one can see that Tolstoy is an able writer, even in this early work, published in 1852 and 1856. I cannot say I enjoyed it greatly, but after finishing it I was glad to have read it and felt the time spent reading it was worthwhile ( )
  Schmerguls | Jul 22, 2009 |
tolstoy's great. he's GREAT. but i've never taken longer to get through a 370-page book. wtf..honestly, i don't care if you were in your first love or second love or who bought what pencil case or oh look at me i'm so cool in my own drozhka.
on a nicer note, there really is a lot happening in these stories which can speak to everyone of the pains, anxieties, and awkwardness of growing up. ( )
  coolsnak3 | Aug 2, 2008 |
Difficult to rate as I read a sickly-sweet Finnish translation, so I'll give it a three as it clearly can't be quite as bad as it seemed. In any case this early Tolstoy work was originally published part by part with the third publication combining _Childhood_ and _Boyhood_ with _Youth_, the final part. _Youth_ is by far the strongest work in this trilogy, the only part that made me think this really is Tolstoy. The two earlier parts, which made me gag and retch and angry enough to want to slap Tolstoy, appear to have more clarity and taste in the Maude translation this edition refers to, but I doubt even a good translation can completely negate the general dullness of them. ( )
  vaellus | Jun 6, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140441395, Paperback)

The artistic work of Leo Tolstoy has been described as 'nothing less than one tremendous diary kept for over fifty years'. This particular 'diary' begins with Tolstoy's first published work, "Childhood", which was written when he was only twenty-three. A semi-autobiographical work, it recounts two days in the childhood of ten-year-old Nikolai Irtenev, recreating vivid impressions of people, place and events with the exuberant perspective of a child enriched by the ironic retrospective understanding of an adult. "Boyhood and Youth" soon followed, and Tolstoy was launched on the literary career that would bring him immortality.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:56:21 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Leo Tolstoy embarked on 'Childhood, Boyhood, Youth' in his early 20s. Though he later regarded his first published sketches as an 'awkward mixture of fact and fiction', they provide a highly expressive self-portrait which makes clear the man and the writer Tolstoy was to become.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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