Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Some reviews

If anyone's nearing the end of War and Peace, you may be interested in the following more cohesive perspectives on the book as a whole (as opposed to on its itty-bitty parts taken separately). (Some links below contain spoilers.)

Matt has in recent weeks posted some thoughts on wrapping up the reading of War and Peace and a fuller review.

Also, Maxine some time ago in the comments provided a link to Frank Wilson's review of War and Peace in the Philadelphia Inquirer (I believe it's no longer available online, but I was able to search on the elements and find a cached copy). Here's a bit:
The nearest to a hero in the war chronicle is Prince Kutuzov, the old, one-eyed Russian commander. ("Long years of military experience, confirmed by the wisdom of old age, had told him that one person cannot control hundreds of thousands of men fighting to the death, and he knew that the fate of battles... is decided by a mysterious force known as the 'spirit of the army.'... ")

Napoleon is portrayed as an amoral brigand whose luck has run out, Czar Alexander as well-meaning but largely clueless. The most controversial parts of the work are the essays on history, which many regard as its least successful component. But they often segue nicely into the war episodes.

The essays also remind us that the novelist able to perform the miracle of creation that is Natasha could also be a common scold. From start to finish, the book is told in Tolstoy's voice, the viewpoint that of a patriotic Russian (the Russian forces are always referred to as "ours").


Blogger Raehan said...

Isabella, I'm so sorry I've been a slacker on this. Both kids home this summer, one not napping. Enough said. I will try to catch up. Are you all done with this, or is there still time.

12:17 AM  
Blogger Raehan said...

Oh, and I am quitting my blog, but not the reading group.

12:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has the next book been chosen?
I am a librarian in New York. Can I join in on the next read?

1:18 PM  
Blogger Isabella said...

Raehan: I hope you're well. No apologies necessary — jump in anywhere, anytime.

Am considering posting a revised schedule, to take us back to Book 2 (I think that's where most people are?), to continue at a Book a month? I really hate for people to be shy of contributing just because they think they're behind...

Anonymous: Watch this space. I think there WILL be a next book, but no idea what it might be yet. Probably starting in November.

2:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful! By the way, my name is Rachel. I am a librarian in New York. I read War and Peace when I was thirteen and loved it.

4:39 PM  
Blogger TOR Hershman said...

"War & Peace," HA!

It should've been called
War & Reloading.

Stay on Groovin' Safari,

12:47 AM  
Anonymous gina c said...

I finished Book 3 yesterday and am going to start on book 4 this week. I am already thinking about the next book. There's a new translation of the Three Musketeers out (by Pevear of the translating duo Pevear and Volkhonsky). Maybe? Could be time for something like that, havent read it yet ever.... The Red and the Black? Villette? I am ready to consider to all suggestions!

10:55 AM  
Blogger Krakovianka said...

I'm in part two of book three. This is a looooong book. I just picked it up after a two-week break and was immediately drawn back into the story.

I really am enjoying this one, although I haven't posted much. That's partly because this is my first book with this group, and I was waiting to see how the discussion played out. Since it hasn't, much, maybe I'll just make a few posts of my own...

3:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just put the new translation on the Three Musketeers on interloan. It will be a first read for me.

Rachel D.

7:10 PM  
Anonymous Danielle said...

I am working on Book II now. I read it every morning on my bus ride to work--I guess I need a longer bus ride! It is good and easy to get into the story...but yes, very long. I think I am finally getting more into the story everyone else has been talking about!

10:31 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Hey, I'm still here. I finished book II at the end of July, but I've had a busy August (that's what happens on holidays). I'm back at it now.

12:42 AM  

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