This is an ordinary story, it could be anyone’s really. Tolstoy masterfully narrates the life of a man that lives for appearances, for status, for his important work, for his fashionable house, for his mockery of a family, for a social life where everything is defined by what finer people decide is good or bad. As he ascends to what society considers best, his natural side gives in, and all his life is reigned by everything but genuine affection. It’s only when nature begins to abandon him - as an ignored old friend – that he clutches at every last sign of hope as his properly-built castle of cards quickly falls apart. It’s interesting that the only truly happy memory he possesses goes back to his childhood when life was still unmarred by common ambitions and the choking succession of affairs. At the end of it, it’s quite a relief to finish this long process of unmourned death which surprisingly hasn’t started with a diagnosis (not at all) but long before – when the child became a man.