by Leo Tolstoy
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In this short book, the newly-converted Tolstoy shares some of the struggles he faced
during a mid-life crisis of faith. He begins by reflecting upon how neither philosophy
nor religion seemed to answer any of life’s great questions. As he explains, the author
only overcomes his doubts after observing and immersing himself in the faith of ordinary
people performing everyday tasks. The Christian life lived out, more than anything else,
revealed the truths of God to him. Tolstoy’s personal account not only provides insight
into the mind of one of the world’s greatest novelists, but it also serves to shed light on
the human experience of doubt, despair, and faith. Tolstoy’s Confession can be read
especially well alongside his novella of similar themes, The Death of Ivan Ilyich.