'It is impossible to explain why Yevgeny chose Liza Annenskaya, as it is always impossible to explain why a man chooses this and not that woman.'This collection of eleven stories spans virtually the whole of Tolstoy's creative life. While each is unique in form, as a group they are representative of his style, and touch on the central themes that surface in War and Peace and Anna Karenina. Stories as different as 'The Snowstorm', 'Lucerne', 'The Diary of a Madman', and 'The Devil' are grounded in autobiographical experience. They deal with journeys of self-discovery and the moral and religious questioning thatcharacterizes Tolstoy's works of criticism and philosophy. 'Strider' and 'Father Sergy', as well as reflecting Tolstoy's own experiences, also reveal profound psychological insights. These stories range over much of the Russian world of the nineteenth century, from the nobility to the peasantry, the military to the clergy, from merchants and cobblers to a horse and a tree. Together they present a fascinating picture of Tolstoy's skill and artistry.