There are so many great characters and moments in this chapter that I don’t really have time to go into them all. I’m sure you can enjoy them all for yourself. But what with le terrible dragon, Marya Dmitrievna, and the cynical Shinshin, even if they’re minor characters – they’re all completely familiar and large as life.
I don’t know about you, but the quote that made me laugh out loud (and also cringe with a big of self-recognition) had to be the introduction of Berg:
Berg talked very precisely, serenely, and politely. All he said was always concerning himself. He always maintained a serene silence when any subject was discussed that had no direct bearing on himself. And he could be silent in that way for several hours at a time, neither experiencing nor causing in others the slightest embarrassment. But as soon as the conversation concerned him personally, he began to talk at length and with visible satisfaction.
Absolute Tolstoy gold . . .
Second place would go to the description of the dinner. It only takes a few paragraphs but it rises off the page . . . the musicians playing during dinner, the domestics rushing around, the men getting drunk and loud up one end, the women nattering at the other. In the middle, the kids, struggling to contain their crushes on one another. And, of course, poor old Pierre, awkward as usual, but welcome this time – not like Anna Scherer’s. This is a much different household.
Oh, yeah, and I’ve updated the MindMap.