War and Peace - Week 10
Well.. this week's reading wasn't particularly exciting, was it?! I am hoping for better things next week. I actually finished it on Wednesday and Thursday, and can't REALLY remember much of what happened in it, so this bodes well for the blog post doesn't it! Hehe.
I actually cannot believe that we have been doing this for 10 weeks. I don't think I have ever been reading the same book for so long, I am itching to go and read something else (I didn't have enough time last week to fit something else in and finish it, and I have realised that I don't like having two novels on the go at once and am really not in a non-fiction/short story place right now, so for this week I have prepared a small stack of comics to read, yay! I do really want to read another novel though, hehe).
1) The only bit of this week's war-themed escapades that I really took in was a small section where it got interesting and the Russians started getting ready to attack the French but then got confused because they couldn't find somebody or other so they did it the next day and botched it again because they went crazy and just started trying to beat on some French people. Does anybody feel as though they're learning?
I feel like I am learning a bit about what happened, but I also feel like although Tolstoy seems to be doing a good job of being fair to both sides, I can't quite trust his version of events. I have definitely learnt way more about the war than I knew before (which was basically that the French weren't prepared for a Russian winter), but I had no idea that they had occupied Moscow! I do not know much history at all, hehe. I would like to know more about European history but first I feel like I should learn a bit about the history of Japan seeing as I live here and everything! All I know really is a little bit about the Meiji restoration and then what has happened since - anything before then I'm a bit clueless about.
2) Clearly Tolstoy's not a Napoleon fan - as far as Tolstoy's concerned, he's lucky at best. Thoughts?
Hmm, I got the impression that he thought that Napoleon was capable (especially earlier in the book), but that he was human and had maybe overestimated his talents. From pop culture in general I always got the impression of Napoleon being a complete arse, but this book has actually made me wonder if that is the case, hehe. I should really go and read up about Napoleon in general, but I'll be honest and say that it is very unlikely that I will.
3) According to Shmoop, Pierre's only been in prison for four weeks. And in four weeks he's decided to completely re-write his personality while shedding some pounds. I've been surprised by how well Tolstoy has portrayed the French's treatment of their prisoners. Maybe he's not so biased after all? [I realise that's not technically a question but I'm late so we're going with it]
Aww, poor Pierre! As I said up there *points* I actually feel like Tolstoy is pretty fair to both sides - he doesn't really imply that the Russians are completely amazing, and he doesn't really portray the French as evil or anything. I think that he is probably treating both sides as fairly as he could given that he himself is Russian and therefore obviously a bit biased. It seems to me that this whole era is pretty interesting, as most of the aristocracy speak to each other in French, and France seems to have been held in quite high regard before the war, so it seems like everyone is kind of treating the other side as humans, rather than just seeing them as the enemy. Does that make sense?
4) This might be a ridiculous question given that some of you may not be flying by the seat of your pants and only just staying caught up (like nobody around here, obviously) but is anybody else worried that the final two books are going to be all about Napoleon trudging back across Russia and that we're only going to get back to the characters we actually care about in retrospect when we hit the Epilogues?!
I wasn't worried before, but I am now!!! Thinking about it, it is completely possible. I guess that we will just have to wait and see what this week's reading brings. I have sort of learnt not to expect major events to be properly covered, as Tolstoy seems to gloss over lots of things that I would have expected a book of this length to take time over, and then concentrate intensely on things that aren't at all important (like that stupid hunting trip!). So I don't really have that high expectations for the end of the novel - not that I am not enjoying the book in general! I am really glad that I joined this readalong, because I don't think I would have got through this in a million years if it was just me!
I think actually that if the final two books are just about the war and then everything to do with the characters that I mostly dislike is in the epilogues, I will actually be able to get through the epilogues, whereas if everyone's story is wrapped up in the last two books and the epilogues are about the war, I might struggle a lot! We'll see, I guess.
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