Tuesday, December 6, 2011

War and Peace I

Last night I finished the first part of Tolstoy’s War and Peace. That puts me at about eight percent of the way to completion. Hmmm. I did start it last week, but I spent a lot of my free time finishing Hansen’s Civil War history, so I only spent about four hours reading these 96 pages. Four hours … eight percent … that means I’ll finish the big book after 46 more hours of reading. At 45 minutes a night, that’s … sometime in late January!

That’s okay, though. War and Peace is of a length comparable to The Lord of the Rings trilogy or one of George R. R. Martin’s lengthier Song of Fire and Ice epics. I’m there. I’m with it. I’m in for the long haul. And after I’m done, I have two other epic books / series I’m thinking of delving into.

Anyway, my take so far? It’s like a 19th century Russian soap opera. Sure, all the characters are interesting, multi-dimensional, breathlessly alive, and all have ulterior motives, so much so that I feel I may be in danger should that fifth wall between writer and reader be broken. But my verdict is: more war, less peace. And I think part two is going to take me straight to the Russian front to fight Napoleon.

And I caught a most Russian of expressions in my reading last night (at least, to the extent my narrow and limited reading has been in translated Russian literature) –

“ … To understand everything is to forgive everything …”

Not sure exactly all the implications that lay in that direction, but I think it’s a sentiment that was very well frequently said in various Christian communities in the first century Anno Domini.

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