finally.

War and Peace (Modern Library Classics)The day I thought would never come finally did.  Last night I finished War and Peace.  I started it back at the beginning of May.  I would set it aside for weeks at a time while I read other books.  But slowly I trudged through the book.  And I’m glad I did.

The book follows the lives of 3 (allegedly 5, but really it focuses on 3) families from 1805-1812 (and then jumping ahead to 1820 in the epilogue) during Napoleon’s attempt to conquer Russia.  There are quite a few peripheral characters, but it wasn’t hard to become invested in the main characters.  Natasha’s story fascinated me the most at first, but later it was Pierre’s as well as Princess Marya’s stories that kept my attention.  I can’t say that I loved any of the characters, but I did enjoy them.  The length of both the novel and the time period it covers allowed for all the characters to grow and change and become very different people than they were when I first met them.

It was the story that I enjoyed.  I could have done without some of the military explanations and philosophical digressions (basically boiling down to the free will of men vs the predetermined nature of history).  It was these sections that slowed me down (I did not react well when I discovered the last 40 pages read like a philosophical treatise).

This book is unlike any other novel I’ve read (even Anna Karenina).  Possibly because it’s less than a novel.  Stories wrapped up but didn’t end.  Characters grew but never achieved all that they could.  The Russians won, but not really.  Still, it was a fabulous piece of literature.  It captured the Russian spirit.  It showed how even under the threat of impending doom, Russians will not give in.  Even when their greatest city is occupied, they will not assimilate.  They remain their own individual people and this perseverance is what captivates the reader.

I’m glad I read it.  Not just because I can now say I’ve read War and Peace (by the way, I’ve read War and Peace) but because it really is a great story.  The 1386 pages make it look daunting but if you can get past it’s length, I bet you’ll enjoy it, too.

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10 thoughts on “finally.

  1. Once again congrats Michelle! You've read War and Peace! 😉 You should consider adding this achievement to your CV, or at least try to casually mention it in every conversation…

  2. Congratulations! What a great accomplishment. And yes, you should just make a nametag that says you've read War & Peace. 🙂

    It was these sections that slowed me down (I did not react well when I discovered the last 40 pages read like a philosophical treatise).
    Those last 40 pages were hell. It took me forever to get through them, and I bitched the entire time, just ask my roommate! 😉

  3. Congratulations! That is a wonderful achievement! 'War and Peace' is there on my 'To be read' list, but I don't know when I am going to start it. I really envy you for completing it 🙂
    On your observation – "It showed how even under the threat of impending doom, Russians will not give in. Even when their greatest city is occupied, they will not assimilate" – I think it is very true. I heard some of the stories about the siege of St.Petersburg (called Leningrad those days) during the second world war and about the way people have repeatedly lost their entire savings in the last 20 years, in Russia (because of economic collapses) and how Russians continue to smile and move on – your observation captures that perfectly.

  4. Yay!I've got 200 pages left *sigh*. :p I think my book lost those last 40 pages, cos I just looked at the last few pages and it seems to just tell a story. I do hate myself for actually reading the last page, now I know who's gonna marry who! :/:p

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