Welcome to the second of four posts for the War and Peace readalong hosted here at A Literary Odyssey. A couple weeks ago, participants posted their reactions to the first volume of Tolstoy's masterpiece. In this collection of posts, we will be discussing what has happened in the second volume (and can I say how excited I am to be halfway done with this monstrosity of a book)!
I have to say that the book is really coming alive for me. I don't find myself looking at my character list as often, or sitting and trying to remember who that person is connected to. Finally I feel like I have a firm grip on who belongs to who, and just what is going on.
This volume was far more exciting than the first. Relationships are changing and transforming-I mean really, could there have been any more proposals? But I find it interesting to see how the characters weave in and out of each other's lives. You have to give a lot of credit to Tolstoy for maintaining a firm grip and idea on where he wants his story to go.
With the number of characters and small side plots, you could easily see where this could have gone astray, had the author not fully understood what he was doing. But even while you (the reader) are trying to keep everything straight, you can fully appreciate what he is doing.
I love seeing Russia through this lens. And I will be honest, I don't know a lot about Russian history or issues. But this is making it come alive for me. I want to learn more about this era so that I can truly appreciate Tolstoy's genius.
Anyway, I got sidetracked there...back to the story.
In this second half, Pierre takes on a whole new role. I have to feel sorry for him, to be thrust into the position he is and not know how to respond to anything going on around him. He struggles, and you can see that in every scene. How do you live a good life in the middle of so much chaos? That being said, I think he was an idiot for the duel and the following consequences. Men can be so rash at times. :)
Natasha has to be one of the more interesting characters. She falls in love with three different men and seems to hurt all of them. I do like the fact that she seemed to recognize her faults, but the manner in which she tries to rectify it, well, I am curious to see what happens to her as the book moves forward.
I adore Andrei. By far he is my favorite character and I find myself rooting for him. Of course, we all do things we regret, and obviously Andrei comes to terms with his own mistakes (perhaps a little too late), but he acknowledges them and moves on. You have to respect that quality and love it.
I found the battle scenes to be interesting. Like I said in my first post, I don't mind the war scenes. I love the description. Again, I think I owe that to years of reading history and sci-fi, where battles are often outlined (but I would much prefer the insanity and unrealistic space battles in sci-fi novels. Much more exciting with lasers).
In all, I am thoroughly enjoying the book and I cannot wait to move forward into the third volume.
If you are participating in the readalong, please leave a comment with a link to your post, so I can link it here.
And I do want to apologize once more for posting late. I promise it won't happen again!