The Great Book Club of 2016 discussion

Part Two Discussion > SO what did everyone think of part two??????

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message 1: by Caelin (new)

Caelin | 11 comments Mod
I'm LOVING this book

message 2: by Adam (new)

Adam (abandonedtodistraction) | 2 comments It's really helpful keeping a chart of all the characters!!

I think part 2 was really great! Initially I was thrown by the abundance of new characters (from General Kutuzov, to Nesvitsky, to Denisov, to General Mack, to Zherkoff) and lack of Natasha/Pierre/Helene characters I know really well thanks to the musical but I think part 2 does such a great job of dropping you in the immediacy of what was a heavily political and complex situation. It's oddly easy to follow along without all the historical context.

The way Tolstoy includes perspectives from unnamed soldier characters is amazing to me! He captures both the macroscopic exhilaration of the soldiers (all of them having this collective feeling of excitement and dread at the incoming French) whilst also demonstrating their individuality/ humanity (the banter between the infantry and the hussars and all the 'lad' chat about nuns and convents and German peasants) which goes such a long way to encapsulate the horrific, and yet completely emotionally complex, nature of warfare...

As far as the characters go, I think Nikolai Rostov is adorable and he, like most characters in the book so far, feels like a real person. The section where he confronts Telyanin for stealing Denisov's wallet; and then ends up crying is hilarious to me. His eagerness to be #TheBest and to impress Bogdanych (the page where he literally lowkey highkey eyes the colonel up to check if he's watching is AMAZING) and Tsar Alexander and everyone he meets is simultaneously adorable and cringe-worthy and that just about makes him one of the most REAL characters I've ever come across.

That said, I think Andrey might be my FAVOURITE character? I don't especially like him but I find his cynicism in his home-life compared to his sense of self and purpose when at war both immensely fascinating and heartbreaking! He probably won't feel that way about war for long... It'll be really interesting to see how his character develops when we come towards the events of the musical - will he start to find joy in his home life once he meets Natasha? e.t.c.

Basically I'm loving everything about this book so far; and am trying to take my time to read it; which means writing short chapter summaries and keeping character logs just to make sure I constantly feel up to speed and immersed in this world and this society. It's really paying off at the moment! I've just started part 3 and am so excited to keep going!!

Lyd's Archive (7/'15 to 6/'18) (violabelcik) | 23 comments I skipped most of part two because I found it confusing and will probably reread the book at a later time when I'll be able to understand it more.

message 4: by lena ☀️ (new)

lena ☀️ (sunnielena) sorry for the late reply but I love this book so much so far!

everyone presents it as this really long, really hard to get through, old, classic brick but it's so well written and so entertaining. I am highlighting jokes and actually laughing out loud, I very rarely do that.

I really expected to hate the "war" parts but I actually loved this just as much as the "peace" part. I like the way the switch felt like a whole new story but also somehow seemed to flow so smoothly and make complete narrative sense to include.

I've been reading on an ebook but my hard copy just arrived yesterday so I can't wait to start part 3 and hear what everyone else thinks.

ps. thank you so much for creating this group, I was hesitant to start this because of how big it was but reading it with people even if we only really chat about it every now and then has been really great!

Lyd's Archive (7/'15 to 6/'18) (violabelcik) | 23 comments Nick Choksi (aka Dolokhov) did an illustration of Andrey at Austerlitz that can be found at!illustrat...

message 6: by Caroline (new)

Caroline (primrosesquarps) | 3 comments I mostly enjoyed part two, but it did feel like it was dragging on. I'm definitely looking forward to part three since I'm loving the gossipy drama of the Russian nobility!

message 7: by Arthur (new)

Arthur (arosonny) | 7 comments I'm way late to this, but I skimmed most of the war parts but I absolutely love whenever the characters interact! It's fun getting to know different people. I think Nikolai is my favorite at the moment, he seems like such a cute character.

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