It is a biographical book. A decadent lifestyle of grossly over-eating, orgies, all-night gambling, hunting, going off with gypsies and sleeping 'like a dead man till two o'clock in the afternoon' while, contrastingly, an affectionate family man who loved to join in games with his children. In this biography, Count Ilya Tolstoy, one of the thirteen children born to the Tolstoys, provides a surprisingly frank insight into his father's personality, family life and his tormented life as a viveur and writer. Count Ilya Tolstoy also relates how, as a writer, his father Leo Tolstoy was not satisfied with his work which led to constant re-writing. He had feelings of hate for what he created to the point that he wanted to destroy Anna Karenina. Surprisingly, Tolstoy's wife, Sofia Andreevna, seems to have written passages of Anna Karenina and corrected her husband's grammar. Was she behind the deep understanding of a woman's emotions in the book that Leo Tolstoy described as 'ordinary and empty stuff'? Leo Tolstoy believed that: 'One's writing is good only when the intelligence and the imagination are in equilibrium. ' He re-wrote his works until he reached this equilibrium.