Jill's Reviews > War and Peace

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
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Jan 25, 10

bookshelves: classics, asia-africa, russian-lit
Read in January, 2010

It took a LONG while to get into this book. I was probably a third through it before I started enjoying it. I appreciate how Tolstoy paints his characters through what they’re thinking and their interactions with other people. He doesn’t tell you about them, but he introduces you to them and the reader builds a relationship with them. I didn’t enjoy much of it, but I don’t reckon that enjoyment is the point either. I’d received a very rich education when I’d finished. It was a very good use of my time. As for the characters, I especially liked Pierre and how his character develops and matures throughout the book – in particular his stint with the masons and his coming to appreciate life while a prisoner. I also loved the exposition on ethics that comes from Pierre’s character. My least favorite character was definitely Natasha. She drives me nuts. She has redeeming qualities, but I thought her emotionally immature through the end. I read some background information on the book while I was reading it and discovered this on Wikipedia: Tolstoy himself, somewhat enigmatically, said of War and Peace that it was "not a novel, even less is it a poem, and still less an historical chronicle." If it's not a novel, then perhaps it will pass as war epic. That's how I'd classify it. Tolstoy gives such a vivid account of military life in a way that is very moving and graphic, but not repulsive. I appreciated that, because I am rather queasy. I did feel like relationships were a little too tidied up, which bothered me, because it isn’t really believable. Still, the characters have their fair share of turmoil. After all, they are Russian. The other thing I didn't like was the second epilogue. Interesting and even profound in and of itself, the random political essay on historians felt rather incongruous to the novel. Suddenly you get a massive lecture. In any case, I now know what all the hype is about, and I do not think it unfounded. P.S. This is definitely a boy book, but I find that most Russian lit is.
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message 1: by Travis (new) - added it

Travis I'm reading it right now. It does take forever to get into it. I'm just starting to really become interested in the characters. I think I'm 450 pages in, or something like that...


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