Combining detailed physical description with perceptive psychological insight, Leo Tolstoy realistically sweeps aside the sham of surface appearances to lay bare man's intimate gestures, acts, and thoughts. Murder and sacrifice...greed and devotion...lust and affection...vanity and love - one by one, in this volume of great stories, Tolstoy dissects the basic drives, emotions and motives of average people searching for self-knowledge and spiritual perfection. Chekhov said, Of coauthors my favorite is Tolstoy. And Turgenev marveled the strength of his huge talent...It sends a cold shudder even down my back, though you know my back has become thick and course. He is a master, a master.