War and Peace and Sonya

The Story of Sonya Tolstoy

Judith Armstrong

Judith Armstrong

Distributed for Unicorn Press Ltd

272 pages | 27 halftones | 5 1/2 x 11 1/2 | © 2011
Paper $25.95 ISBN: 9781910065303 Published May 2015 For Sale in USA and Canada Only
At eighteen years old, young Sofya Behrs, called Sonya by friends and family, married one of the greatest authors the world has ever known—Leo Tolstoy. Sixteen years his junior, Sonya spent a majority of her married life in confinement while pregnant and nursing, as she bore, raised, and educated thirteen children. At the same time, she toiled as Tolstoy’s  copyist, editor, translator, and publisher, rewriting countless drafts of his timeless novels by hand. For forty-eight years, the Tolstoys lived in a passionate and combative union, joined by love and literary drive, until the author deserted his wife abruptly in 1910, shortly before his death.

In War and Peace and Sonya, Judith Armstrong imagines Sonya’s underexplored story, describing the couple’s simultaneous devotion to and ambivalence about each other and their shared passion for great literature and creativity. Sonya was Tolstoy’s muse, model, and assistant. Though she shaped his books and raised his family, history has placed her squarely in her husband’s shadow. Only in recent years have the truth of their marriage, the extent of her writings, and her personality come to light. This fascinating fictional biography features original photographs from Sonya's life and gives much-needed perspective on the true nature of this powerful matriarch.
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