Hi all! I apologise for the extreme delay in this. I always hate getting behind on these kind of things, but I have a good excuse (I hope!).
First off, my wife Rachel organised for me a surprise 30th birthday party! So I ended up having all my Australian-based brothers and sister all in Sydney, plus heaps of other people. So it was a madcap (but very enjoyable) weekend.
Secondly, work is in a furiously fast mode because we’re launching Sydney’s first chamber music festival next week, which will be incredibly enjoyable if you’re there – but behind the scenes, there’s smoke coming out of our ears. So if anyone wants to attend a concert or two, do let me know – I can probably even get you a special “mates rates” on tickets . . .
Anyway, as far as War and Peace goes, I’ll try to catch up by commenting on two chapters a day until we catch up. I have got written in my diary which chapters belong on which day, but so you know, this is:
Reading for Friday 26/09 – Chapter 5.7
Does that make sense?
Anyway, this was a very short chapter, just highlighting the fact that Prince Vasili (or do we blame the fact that their mother has passed away) has done very little to shape the character of his children. [Side note – is Vasili’s wife dead? I thought I’d read that somewhere, but I can’t remember for sure.]
Ippolit returns again, trying his best to butt in with a stunningly bad joke about the King of Prussia. Well, actually, it isn’t a bad joke – but watching him try to butt in with the punchline about three or four times so he can tell the joke kind of ruins it . . .
And then the chapter finishes with Helene seducing Boris. We were never sure what happened in the case of Dolokhov. But now, in this chapter, we know that Helene destroyed the marriage with Pierre. What makes it more interesting, of course, is that there are now so many characters in War and Peace that things are much more personal, because we know everyone.
If Helene started chasing another man, that would be one thing. But the fact that it’s Boris, who we know, makes it more personal. We know all parties involved in the affair. Ahh, the joy of long novels. Poor old Pierre.
Now, on to chapter 5.8.