Me on Tolstoy's estate at Yasnaya Polyana standing in front of the office where Tolstoy wrote Anna Karenina
In May and June of 2009, funded by grants from the NEA and Pepperdine University, I spent three weeks in Russia visiting key sites related to Tolstoy.  Two of those weeks were at Tolstoy's main estate at Yasnaya Polyana.

I spent a great deal of time at his main house, where he wrote all three of his major novels -- War and Peace, Anna Karenina, and Resurrection.  Since many of the scenes from the novel would take place in that home, I wanted to get a sense of the layout, the appearance of the rooms, and what could be seen and heard from his office, his bedroom, and the other rooms.

The large upstairs dining room -- with its notably long table -- where the Tolstoys
ate most of their meals.  Tolstoy's portrait, featured in my novel, is second from the left.
The location in Tolstoy's downstairs office where his desk sat while he wrote
 Anna KareninaThe windows overlook the main drive onto the estate.

His father's black sofa, which sat in Tolstoy's office near his writing desk
and on which he and each of his children were born.

The receiving entrance for the main house.  Guests would arrive here on sledges
or carriages.  The porch to the right had been built the year prior to his start
on Anna Karenina, and he enjoyed reading or visiting with guests here.

The estate itself is massive, thousands of acres in size.  One day I decided to walk a circle around approximately two-thirds of the property, and it took me more than four hours of steady walking.  The Voronka River flows through the north part of it, snaking through the middle of a wide field and marshland.  There are several large forests, webbed with horse and walking trails.  Three large ponds sit at the south end of the property near the estate entrance.

A small section of the 'Clear Field' where Tolstoy mowed along with his field workers. 

The famous birch drive that leads from the main entrance to the house. 
This photo was taken more than halfway up the drive, which extends
for at least a third of a mile.  Ahead, hidden behind the trees, is the house.

Tolstoy's grave, unmarked per his wishes, along a pathway in one of his
forests.  It sits approximately a half mile northwest of his house.

I also was able to visit the nearby city of Tula, where Tolstoy met Pushkin's daughter, Maria Hartung (the woman on whom Tolstoy is believed to have based the physical appearance of Anna Karenina), and the village of Yasnaya Polyana and surrounding area.  One of my most haunting moments was when I happened upon the grave of Anna Stepanovna Pirigova, Tolstoy's neighbor who committed suicide by train the year before Tolstoy began writing Anna Karenina.  The grave was located near the mausoleum where his father, mother, and brother Dmitri are buried, and near the grave of Tolstoy's wife, Sonya.  The grave of Alexander Bibikov (the man with whom Anna Pirigova had been in love) was in this same section of the cemetery.

Gravesite of Anna Piragova, Tolstoy's neighbor who committed suicide by train.

The mausoleum which holds the remains of Tolstoy's father, mother, and brother Dmitri.

A Partial Bibliography of Books Referenced While Writing Anna:

Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (translated by Constance Garnett)

Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsk)

Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (translated by George Gibian, plus critical articles)

Leo Tolstoy, Confession

Leo Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilych

Leo Tolstoy, Father Sergius

Leo Tolstoy, Master and Man

Leo Tolstoy, Azbuka(in Russian)

Leo Tolstoy, The Gospel in Brief

Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

Rene Fulop-Miller, ed., Tolstoy: Literary Fragments, Letters and Reminiscences

Kathryn B. Feuer, Tolstoy and the Genesis of War and Peace

Sergei Tolstoy, Tolstoy Remembered

Alexandra Tolstoy, Tolstoy: A Life of My Father

Boris Eikhenbaum, Tolstoy in the Seventies

Tatiana Tolstoy, The Tolstoy Home

Tatyana Tolstoy, Tolstoy Remembered

Edward A. Steiner, Tolstoy the Man

Hugh I’Anson Fausset, Tolstoy: The Inner Drama

A. V. Knowles, ed., Tolstoy: The Critical Heritage

Tatyana Kuzminskaya, Tolstoy As I Knew Him

Sophia Tolstoy, The Diaries of Sophia Tolstoy

Martine de Courcel, Tolstoy: The Ultimate Reconciliation

Henri Troyat, Tolstoy

Anne Edwards, Sonya: The Life of Countess Tolstoy

Aylmer Maude, The Life of Tolstoy

R. F. Christian, Tolstoy’s Letters, Volume I: 1828-1879

R. F. Christian, Tolstoy’s Letters, Volume II: 1880-1910

R. F. Christian, Tolstoy’s Diaries, Volume I: 1847-1894

R. F. Christian, Tolstoy’s Diaries, Volume II: 1895-1910

R. F. Christian, Tolstoy: A Critical Introduction

V. F. Bulgakov, The Last Year of Leo Tolstoy

Ilya Tolstoy, Tolstoy, My Father: Reminiscences

Edward Wasiolek, Tolstoy’s Major Fiction

Jay Parini, The Last Station

C. J. G. Turner, A Karenina Companion

A. B. Goldenweizer, Talks With Tolstoy

Peter Brock and John L. H. Keep, Life in a Penal Battalion of the Russian Imperial Army: The Tolstoyan N. T. Iziumchenko’s Story

Henry Gifford, Tolstoy

Kalpana Sahni, ed., Reminiscences on Tolstoy

Donna Tussing Orwin, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Tolstoy

Donna Tussing Orwin, Tolstoy’s Art and Thought: 1847-1880

A. N. Wilson, Tolstoy