Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Anybody there?

Just a quick note...

Sorry for keeping so quiet lately. I've been swamped with work, etc. The spare time I've had I've devoted to reading rather than writing about what I've read. I'm pleased to say I've passed the halfway mark, and am finding W&P to be unputdownable.

Anyway, constraints on my time are easing up, and I hope to organize some thoughts for a post or two in the next couple days.

Of course, this shouldn't stop you from saying anything.


Anonymous red-faced rachel said...

I'm afraid I'm only getting further behind, which is really irritating to me, but somehow I am not able to rectify this yet. So I find that when I have things to say, I get self-conscious about being behind.

Should I just dive in and post anyway?

12:43 PM  
Blogger Krakovianka said...

I've been on vacation for a few days, and I've used the time to catch up. I'm about halfway through the book, too, and I am also finding the story more and more irresistable.

Mostly, I find myself reacting to characters. I think Boris is disgraceful--not visiting the Rostovs because they are "beneath" him now, when it was Countess Rostov who gave his mother the money he needed for his outfit when he first went off to the service. I'm proud of Sonya for risking Natasha's anger and preventing her elopement. She seems like a friend worth having! (Although that chart I printed off before I began reading has me worried, as I know the man she loves marries someone else. I wish I hadn't printed that thing!)

So I am disgusted with Boris, worried for Sonya, amused (still) by Pierre, and enjoying this book very much.

But underneath it all, I admit to being entirely in rebellion against Tolstoy's main premise--that everyone is a prisoner of fate and cannot change his pre-determined course. Men and women are not puppets, and most of what happens "inevitably" (ala Tolstoy and The Matrix) is actually the natural result of action or inaction on the part of men and women. We can't control everything that happens, of course, but we are not helpless babies, either.

Pierre didn't HAVE to fall for Prince Vasily's manipulations and marry Ellen!

So, anyway, the short answer for me is, yes, I am here!

8:07 AM  
Blogger Isabella said...

You know, I'm not convinced that IS Tolstoy's main premise. Everyone's making decisions along the way (even Pierre — I'd rather say he succumbed to a weakness in his own character, his immaturity and naivete re social workings, than to Fate [aside: what is it with those nasty Kuragins??!! All of them despicable!]) — it's only in hindsight any of them (us) can say 'it was meant to be.' If anything, it's that those actions/decisions are part of, in being and in causing reactions in a chain of events, a much bigger picture we can't possibly hope to know or understand. I suppose that that is what we call Fate, or God, or the Law of Mathematics, or whatever, but it doesn't preclude individuals from acting of their own free will within a grander scheme, or in making the scheme evident. I mean, all the characters have moments feeling they are imbued with purpose, that they are agents of change, altho' the next moment all is meaningless — I wonder which note it will end on, and really, which of those conditions is more indicative of being master of one's own destiny (I'm not sure). Umm. Sorry, I'm starting to talk circles 'round myself, trying to grasp what is Russian fatalism, but hopefully will be clearer when I post later today.

I'm rather puzzled by Natasha. None of the men seem to understand their attraction to her, recognizing she's not the cleverest of the lot, she's just "fabulous" — how different is she from Ellen or Lisa? She simply doesn't know her own power yet and hasn't decided how to use it?

9:51 AM  
Blogger Isabella said...

To be more succint,

"Men and women are not puppets, and most of what happens "inevitably" (ala Tolstoy and The Matrix) is actually the natural result of action or inaction on the part of men and women."

My understanding of the book thus far is that Tolstoy would actually agree with you.

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Danielle said...

I am still way back in the beginning of the book, but I read some every day. I find myself looking forward to my morning bus ride (it is my bus book!). I am glad to hear it gets so good you don't want to put it down!

11:23 AM  

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