By Leo Tolstoy
In none of his other works is Tolstoy's fatalistic attachment to trains (which is a major theme in Anna Karenina as well) more fully realized than this shorter novel published late in his life. Here, the juxtaposition of sexuality, music, death and murder coalesce into a complex world that is at once contained to the small stage of one train at the same time as it mirrors larger society. Nowhere in Tolstoy does he deal with sexuality so candidly or more forcefully. Many consider this his finest short work.