April 19, 2019

Tolstoy's Letter to Amos Oz

“Not long ago, the writer Amos Oz found a rather surprising letter in his mailbox. “Dear Mr. Oz, It gives me great pleasure to inform you that you have won the award,” wrote someone who signed himself “Mr. Tolstoy.” Oz was a bit taken aback: It’s not every day you receive a letter from a literary great who died 108 years ago.

“I thought it was a prank,” says Oz. “I thought I was being played with, until I read the letter.”

It’s like taking part in a séance.

Oz laughs. “Yes, yes.”

Turns out that Vladimir Ilyich Tolstoy, the author of the letter, is the great-great-grandson of Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy. In 2003, the Yasnaya Polyana Literary Award (the name of the estate where the writer was born and lived most of his life) was inaugurated in Tolstoy’s memory.”

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