Tuesday, July 17, 2007

War and Peace, Part I

Last year, I was very impressed when Fei Min told me she had finished reading Tolstoy's War and Peace. I had always wanted to read this novel, so I put it on my "101 in 1001" list. When Todd saw the list, he bought me the novel for Christmas. I finally made it through Part I a couple of weeks ago. There are 15 parts plus a two-part epilogue (as well as a page of reading-group questions, but let's not count that). Clearly, I still have some distance to go. I did read Anna Karenina some years ago, so I had some idea of what to expect, but still ....

I really struggled through the first 100 pages (of the 1386 pages in my edition) and had to continually go back and reread passages to reacquaint myself with the characters. I didn't keep a careful count, but I could swear that at least 30 characters were introduced in the first 50 pages. It didn't help that Prince Andrey is called, at various times and by various people, Prince Bolkonsky, Andre, and Andryusha. At least Pierre is always called Pierre (well, sometimes Monsieur Pierre, but I understand French and can deal with that).

Now, I am well into Part II. The characters have all been introduced, the historical and political context has been set, and things are starting to happen. There have been a death, a major inheritance, hurt feelings, a sad parting and lots of foreshadowing, and I am now finding the book quite engrossing. I'll keep at it for a while, at least until Saturday when I pick up my preordered copy of Harry Potter.

1 comment:

Jill said...

If you want to read a classic that's good ;) , try "The Count of Monte Cristo". I loved it. One of my top 10 books of all time.