Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Cossacks by Leo Tolstoy

I listened to the unabridged audio version of the The Cossacks by Leo Tolstoy and read by David Thorn. I felt very middle of the road about my experience listening to The Cossacks

First off, let me begin by saying that I didn't enjoy David Thorn's reading of The Cossacks as he gives a really bad accent/voice to one character that sounds like a bad rendition of Sean Connery -- Ugh!!

As for The Cossacks itself, I enjoyed Leo Tolstoy's writing as it is vividly descriptive. I felt like Tolstoy's writing offers a perfect snapshot of what life was like in Russia during the 1800s in the Caucasus region. The characters and the storyline were well written, but not interesting enough for me to be completely 'in love' with this novel.

Below is the publisher's summary of The Cossacks, which I found on Audible:

Tolstoy's first novel and acknowledged as one of his best. The Cossacks is based on Tolstoy's own forays into the Caucasus, abandoning his aristocrat life of gambling and carousing in Moscow and volunteering to be attached to the regular army. Leo Tolstoy's firsthand insight to the magnificent landscape and the colorful Cossack way of life is lushly descriptive, in a text translated from his manuscript by close friends. 
Olenin is an aimless young nobleman who is disenchanted with city life. Taking a post as a Cadet in the army, he finds himself assigned to the remote Cossack outpost in the Caucasus. It is here, among the Tatars, the Chechens, and the Old Believers, that he will fall in love with a beautiful Cossack girl. The only problem is that she is promised to a Cossack warrior.
In the setting of what is present-day Kazakhstan, Tolstoy examines two psychological problems. The first is the dilemma of a young man who desires both fulfilling love and a place as a respected member of society. The other is the difficulty of a primitive society to accept domination by a higher culture that has no understanding of the traditions it asks its colonists to cast aside.

I'm giving The Cossacks a rating of 6 stars out of 10 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!


  1. Audio books can hard. I have listened to a few that are wonderful and others that I just thought were awful. The narrator can really make or break an audio book too. At least you made it all the way through!

    1. Yes, audiobook readers can make or break an experience with a book. I've come across some really great readers and some that were so horrible that I've actually stopped listening to an audiobook because of the reader.

      I'm actually an audiobook addict this year and have been the previous year as well. It'll be interesting to see if I actually listen to or read more books by the time this year is over with.