Dissolute, disenchanted Dmitri Olénin decides to join the army as a cadet and is despatched to the Caucasus. There, he is transformed by seeing how the indigenous people live in harmony with nature, how their lives have more meaning than those of the superficial social elite in Moscow, and he finds a new sense of self and purpose. But nothing is ever quite that simple.
Love and loyalty are tested to the very limits in this semi-autobiographical novella, which is one of Tolstoy’s best-loved works.
Tolstoy's novella tells how a young, aristocratic Russian, doing military service among the Cossacks in the Caucasus, learns about life, love, and himself, upsetting his previous notions. Jonathan Oliver performs, rather than reads, varying the voices adeptly from person to person and among men and women, matching speech to how it's described, providing the proper expression and emotions. His voice is strong; he's best at Cossack men, especially the rambunctious Daddy Eroshka. The use of strong British accents to represent Russian accents, while reasonable for a British production, may strike American listeners as odd - but it's the best way to go, and the distraction passes. This is an able narration of a fine, subtle work.
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A surprisingly quiet story
- Tad Davis