Welcome to the first post (of four) for Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace readalong hosted here at A Literary Odyssey. I have been excited to dive into this chunker of a book since I got my hands on my copy.
I think that I was always intimidated by this book by simply not trying it. I have found that through this process of reading classics, that the books I was most scared of become my favorites. They are far more accessible than I thought they would be and it is certainly the same for War and Peace.
I am not saying that this is an easy book to read. Like all of the Russian novels I have read so far, the names trip me up a little. It is an adjustment and I eventually get used to it, just like I have before. I did print out a character list I found online and while I referenced it a lot when I first started (I think more out of fright than anything else), but now I am fairly certain that I am keeping the characters straight in my own head.
And with that said, the book is surprisingly easy to get through. Granted, the volume I have is massive and if I really wanted to, I could knock myself out with it due to the weight. But, I find that I am reading more of it at a quicker pace than I thought I would. Tolstoy really draws his reader in to the spic grandeur of his tale and I am eating it up, eagerly turning pages to discover what else he has planned for me.
As for my translation, I am glad I chose to purchase the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation. Their translation of The Brothers Karamazov that I read last April was beautiful, and I am finding the same in this novel. I also love the fact that they left the original French in during the course of the novel. Reading the footnotes isn't too bad and I am making steady progress. I figure that Tolstoy intended that the French be left in, and since I have recently read another classic with a lot of French (Villette by Charlotte Bronte) I'm not bothered by it.
As for the story, I love how it is slowly unfolding. I never seem to caught up in the fact that hey, I'm reading War and Peace, but instead I'm treating it like any other story I am completely unfamiliar with. The introduction of the families and characters was interesting, and I am slowly getting to know them. I also find that I am not put off by any of the larger scenes-the battles and so forth. I think that for some readers, this is completely uninteresting, but since I read a lot of history books and science fiction in the past, I love battle scenes and can picture them vividly in my own mind.
From this point on, I can't wait to see where Tolstoy is going to take me. I can imagine that it will be to grand and wonderful things. I want to see where the characters wind up in this saga, and what their result will be. Only....1000 more pages to go to see what happens. :)
What do you think? Is it as hard as you always thought? Are you finding the length to be intimidating?
If you are participating, please leave a link here so I can link to your post! (If I happened to see your post and remembered, I linked up for you).