The Story of the Book

The Story of the Book

Review: Frederick Wiseman’s gorgeous ‘A Couple’ brings the words of Sophia Tolstoy to life on the page in this first novel from the author of The Luminaries.

By David Maraniss

July 17, 2016

“My name is Sophia Tolstoy.”

It was Sunday morning. With all the guests gone, her husband had left to go to work. She’d spent the night trying to talk out her thoughts with him of how she wished to spend her day, after weeks without seeing him. When he kissed her good bye at the door, she said softly, “You know I love you very deeply, to the exclusion of any other person on the face of this planet.”

“That is so,” he said, and he was gone before she could say anything else. He was walking to the station, and she knew she’d be alone for the first time in a long while.

The morning was crisp and clear. As she walked with head held high to the station, she felt the way she did when she was a teenager. Her father had bought the book she’d read from the library, and she’d made it her favorite.

What she read in it, what she felt about what she read in it made it so much more than just a book. She had come to realize that the story of the book had been hers, and she didn’t want to lose that now that it was hers.

When I was a kid, I loved to read. I read books on every subject within my reading ability, but I especially loved stories. I read books that I would love and that I would think had a lot to offer, and I read books that would challenge me intellectually, and I read mysteries and thrillers and romantic novels and I read books that told fantastic stories, and I read books that I would hope to never find in libraries.

I don’t know if it was my mother’s influence or my father’s or both, but

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