Yay! We have made it through Book or Volume I of War and Peace! This means we are at 23%, according to Good Reads. Congratulations!
For me, this part was a little easier to read than the previous one. In the end, the last 40 pages of part 2 were not that difficult to read (when I eventually caught up), but I think I prefer the interchange between domestic settings and battlefield scenes. I still hold to the conviction that I find it hard to concentrate on the chaos of battle. It is the same for me in watching battles in movies. Of course, finding it difficult to concentrate in Tolstoy’s fiction means you might miss some pretty significant scenes, such as the one where Prince Andrei keeps staring up at the sky (I am trying not to spoil too much of the plot).
How are you faring with War and Peace thus far?
I admit, I still struggle with the pieces alloted each month. I need about 40 pages to settle into the story. But then I have also noticed how reading 100 pages at a time is a little dense reading wise, and the words begin to swim in front of my eyes from time to time.
Which scene stood out to me most this time? The moment when Prince Andrei (I think?) comes face to face with Napoleon, and experiences a major disillusionment. Not so much hero, not so much clever and bright all the time, but mostly human – like himself. It is something that is still very poignant today, I think.
Again, this part brought home, like part 2 began to do, how very fragile human life is on the battlefield. How much of it comes down to luck. And how chaos and ruthlessness and arbitrariness reign. But added to that, is now the background of the family at home. Continuing their life. Trying to. But also having the war, the knowledge that good news or bad news might come at any moment, all the time. I admit that it is this combination that I am most interested in right now. Hopefully the next parts will continue in the same vein.
Check out Amy’s post for a much more thoughtful discussion on, among other things, Tolstoy’s portrayal of women in this part. She also has the Mr. Linky to link to your own thoughts.
For April, we have Book II, part 1 & 2 scheduled. I currently don’t have the book with me, but I will edit in the corresponding chapter numbers later.