Reading for Monday 20/10/08
Well, there we go – I’ve almost caught up. This chapter is very cleverly written, because Tolstoy disappears for the whole thing. Normally, his rather calm style of story-telling is like a third character in between us and the characters. But when it turns to Pierre’s diary, there is no one to interpret what is going on. It’s just purely his mind, in all its twisted anguish.
But it’s a surprisingly good chapter, because it is so personal. All sorts of issues, such as Pierre’s loneliness, the fact that he knows he’s been wronged by Dolokhov in the past and now Boris, the increasing superficiality of the Masons he knows and his sex life – all of these are covered in the letter – but through the lens of his dreams and conversations with old Joseph (or Osip or Iosif, depending which translation you have). What’s even more surprising than all this is that the chapter culminates in kind of a maximum state of confusion for Pierre – but then next chapter we’re going back to the Rostovs!
So we’re going to be left hanging for a bit here.