The Poet of Tolstoy Park: A Novel (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Random House LLC, Mar 1, 2005 - Fiction - 254 pages
52 Reviews
“The more you transform your life from the material to the spiritual domain, the less you become afraid of death.” Leo Tolstoy spoke these words, and they became Henry Stuart’s raison d’etre. The Poet of Tolstoy Park is the unforgettable novel based on the true story of Henry Stuart’s life, which was reclaimed from his doctor’s belief that he would not live another year.

Henry responds to the news by slogging home barefoot in the rain. It’s 1925. The place: Canyon County, Idaho. Henry is sixty-seven, a retired professor and a widower who has been told a warmer climate would make the end more tolerable. San Diego would be a good choice.

Instead, Henry chose Fairhope, Alabama, a town with utopian ideals and a haven for strong-minded individualists. Upton Sinclair, Sherwood Anderson, and Clarence Darrow were among its inhabitants. Henry bought his own ten acres of piney woods outside Fairhope. Before dying, underscored by the writings of his beloved Tolstoy, Henry could begin to “perfect the soul awarded him” and rest in the faith that he, and all people, would succeed, “even if it took eons.” Human existence, Henry believed, continues in a perfect circle unmarred by flaws of personality, irrespective of blood and possessions and rank, and separate from organized religion. In Alabama, until his final breath, he would chase these high ideas.

But first, Henry had to answer up for leaving Idaho. Henry’s dearest friend and intellectual sparring partner, Pastor Will Webb, and Henry’s two adult sons, Thomas and Harvey, were baffled and angry that he would abandon them and move to the Deep South, living in a barn there while he built a round house of handmade concrete blocks. His new neighbors were perplexed by his eccentric behavior as well. On the coldest day of winter he was barefoot, a philosopher and poet with ideas and words to share with anyone who would listen. And, mysteriously, his “last few months” became years. He had gone looking for a place to learn lessons in dying, and, studiously advanced to claim a vigorous new life.

The Poet of Tolstoy Park is a moving and irresistible story, a guidebook of the mind and spirit that lays hold of the heart. Henry Stuart points the way through life’s puzzles for all of us, becoming in this timeless tale a character of such dimension that he seems more alive now than ever.


From the Hardcover edition.
  

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
19
4 stars
23
3 stars
5
2 stars
4
1 star
1

Excellant read, great writing. - Goodreads
Easy to read and thought-provoking. - Goodreads
Subtle--unassuming--but beautiful writing - Goodreads
It was our first selection. - Goodreads

Review: The Poet of Tolstoy Park

User Review  - Rose - Goodreads

I thoroughly enjoyed Henry's end of life story; so glad it lasted 20 years past the one year he was given on diagnosis with consumption. He lived quietly and true to himself in the round house he ... Read full review

Review: The Poet of Tolstoy Park

User Review  - Rita - Goodreads

I was in a bookstore where Mr. Brewer was signing his books. After a brief conversation with him, I decided to purchase his book. I put it on my bookshelf and totally forgot about it. Then one day ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

II
7
III
9
IV
15
V
23
VI
30
VII
37
VIII
39
IX
43
XXII
134
XXIII
140
XXIV
142
XXV
147
XXVI
158
XXVII
164
XXVIII
175
XXIX
179

X
52
XI
59
XII
64
XIII
66
XIV
71
XV
77
XVI
84
XVII
92
XVIII
101
XIX
109
XX
119
XXI
130
XXX
188
XXXI
195
XXXII
198
XXXIII
202
XXXIV
207
XXXV
217
XXXVI
228
XXXVII
235
XXXVIII
241
XXXIX
250
XL
254
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2005)

SONNY BREWER owns Over the Transom Bookshop in Fairhope and is board chairman of the nonprofit Fairhope Center for the Writing Arts. He is the former editor in chief of Mobile Bay Monthly; he also published and edited Eastern Shore Quarterly magazine, edited Red Bluff Review, and was founding associate editor of the weekly West Alabama Gazette. Brewer is the editor of the acclaimed annual three-volume anthology of Southern writing, Stories from the Blue Moon Cafe.


From the Hardcover edition.

Bibliographic information