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'Ilyich/Confession' was my first-ever Tolstoy reading. I sprung for the buy-one/get-one combo that this title offered. While both of these books are quite good--if not great--Ken Kliban's staccato narration is a major barrier.
First, 'Confession'. Tolstoy takes you through his personal journey of mid-life depression, and how it relates to his discovery of faith. Kliban's style is best suited for the frank and critical discussions of this title. Tolstoy's rationalistic and relentless search for the meaning of his life is superb--required reading for those grappling with their own happiness, along with rebellious teenagers, sure-footed elders, believers, atheists and agnostics alike. Beautiful prose and metaphors throughout. I re-listened to multiple chapters as I progressed through the book--lovely.
As for 'Ilyich', it's a book that I now know I truly enjoy due to all the literary analysis I've read post-Audible, but the actual narration is just painful. I feel like I just saw a blockbuster IMAX film for the first time as an in-flight movie: I now know everything about the title and I like it, but boy my first experience could have been so much more. The premise of Ilyich--an ordinary man who sees the errors of his unfulfilling life only once he arrives on his deathbed--is one that everyone should be exposed to long before meeting one's own demise.
For all the comforts that Tolstoy had at his disposal throughout his entire life, I love that he continually questioned and searched for true fulfillment. Ilyich/Confession was a great (short!) introduction to Tolstoy--I'm sure to pursue his doorstop titles in the future. As for this specific title, go for it if you're tightly budgeting credits--otherwise, you might do better finding different narrators and buying the titles separately. A better narration would have surely brought my rating up to 4+ stars.
Narrator good, sort of kept you in the zone. I went for a walk and got through the both books, following along behind Tolstoy as he gained and fell back, gained and fell back, then saw it all in one, in the dream