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).
I see that you have gone green :) Thank you for making this book less daunting. You're so ambitious with your read-alongs. I'll give it a try sometime. Thank you!ReplyDelete
I'm definitely loving it, but I think the first section was probably the hardest. I just needed to get used to the French and the character names, now I'm good. I agree that it's beautifully written and I'm really happy with the translation. The story is wonderful and much less intimidating than I thought it would be.ReplyDelete
I'm loving it so far. I always assumed it would be difficult, but it is not at all. The names take a little time to get straight, but the writing is beautiful. I've never really been intimidated by long books, but the weight of the book makes me nervous. You're certainly correct that you could knock yourself out with it! I was more nervous of how I would react to the battle scenes, but the way Tolstoy writes them makes them easy to enjoy. I'm excited for Volume II!ReplyDelete
I am so glad that you decided to do this book for a read-along and that I decided to participate! My first post can be found here: http://careysbookproject.blogspot.com/2011/01/war-and-peace-by-leo-tolstoy-vol-1.htmlReplyDelete
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My first post is here http://figandthistle.wordpress.com/2011/01/15/war-and-peace-volume-1/ReplyDelete
I'm a little behind here with doing all three of your read alongs. I will join up at the end of the month-I hope.ReplyDelete
I don't think I'm going to be able to finish this one in the readalong... I will finish it, but it's slow going! I can't do two at once, I fear. I'm only 120 pages in.ReplyDelete
I'm only up to chapter ten, but that's okay...I will continue to plug away at the book, albeit slower than I migt have wished. I've started over three times now and it is tough to keep all the characters straigt in my little brain.ReplyDelete
I'm still playing along, but am a tad behind because of the floods! My copy is an ebook and I lost a few days without power! I'll post soon, I'm a day or so behind :D Enjoying it more than I thought I would, though...ReplyDelete
Since I lack the capacity to read more than one book at a time, I'm about halfway through. (I am impressed and astounded that you're going to take on Joyce immediately after Tolstoy!)ReplyDelete
Here's a link to my posts on War And Peace -
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Whoops, deleted! Try again - Here's my read-a-long post for the first check in. http://shaggydogsstory.blogspot.com/2011/01/war-and-peace-read-along-check-in-1.htmlReplyDelete