The Tolstoy Estate
Epic in scope, ambitious and astonishingly good, The Tolstoy Estate proclaims Steven Conte as one of Australia’s finest writers.
From the winner of the inaugural Prime Minister’s Literary Award, Steven Conte, comes a powerful, densely rich and deeply affecting novel of love, war and literature.
In the first year of the doomed German invasion of Russia in WWII, a German military doctor, Paul Bauer, is assigned to establish a field hospital at Yasnaya Polyana – the former grand estate of Count Leo Tolstoy, the author of the classic War and Peace. There he encounters a hostile aristocratic Russian woman, Katerina Trubetzkaya, a writer who has been left in charge of the estate. But even as a tentative friendship develops between them, Bauer’s hostile and arrogant commanding officer, Julius Metz, becomes erratic and unhinged as the war turns against the Germans. Over the course of six weeks, in the terrible winter of 1941, everything starts to unravel…
From the critically acclaimed and award-winning author, Steven Conte, The Tolstoy Estate is ambitious, accomplished and astonishingly good: an engrossing, intense and compelling exploration of the horror and brutality of conflict, and the moral, emotional, physical and intellectual limits that people reach in war time. It is also a poignant, bittersweet love story – and, most movingly, a novel that explores the notion that literature can still be a potent force for good in our world.
Grave, moving, engaging ... full of the flash and fire of dramatic incident, but also full of real feeling, humour and poignancy, and equipped with plenty of panache ... It deserves the widest possible readership.
Reading a book that is such a complete world, evoked in such fine detail, is almost wickedly satisfying ... Elegant, intelligent, utterly engrossing and immersive ... He reminds us that travel is always possible in the imagination even when reality goes dark and that literature always leads us towards the light.
Steven Conte has written a sweeping historical saga spanning the second world WAR and the frigid decades of PEACE that followed; an essential novel about essential things - love's triumphs and failures, the redoubtable human spirit, and the power of literary art itself. Tolstoy, of course, is at the novel's heart, and in its very soul.
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Steven Conte’s debut novel, The Zookeeper’s War, won the inaugural Australian Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Fiction. It was also shortlisted for the 2008 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book and for the 2007 Christina Stead Award for Fiction. The novel was published in the UK and Ireland and translated into Spanish.
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