Reading for Monday 3/11/08

When Rachel and I were going out, we lived in different cities – actually, we never really lived less than 14 hours apart up until a few months before we got married.  So the idea of one year apart doesn’t seem huge.

But then again, this is one year without much contact, except for the odd letter.  (It might have been far easier, what with international phone cards, email, Skype, etc.) 

But the reversion to formality on Andrei’s part is a bit strange.  Rather than thinking of himself as an engaged man, he seems to want to think of himself as a single guy with a potential fianceé.  Not something I’d recommend to most engaged people, but this is Andrei . . .

What I do feel sorry for is poor old Natasha, stuck in the middle.  She’s the one who has to just grin and bear this, and had no say in the matter at all.

But still, by the end of the chapter, two weeks into the separation thing, she seems to be doing okay.

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9 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 6.24 – The Final Days

  1. Well, you’ve read W & P before, and you know what’s to come, as I do – and Ian, I guess.

    But we’ll be quiet, just in case there’s any ‘newbies’ to the novel that are looking in here.

    I will say this much – I’m in the midst of reading Book 10 and I’m still not convinced that Natasha has matured much – she’s still a silly little girl.

  2. I really don’t see Natasha quite as harshly as that, Carly. I can, I guess, concede that she is immature – but only just. To me it’s more like an exuberance, a determination to take everything, the good and the bad, to the max. Everything, for her, is as it is – 110%. But still, having said that, I know some people really do find her annoying. At the risk of committing the ultimate sacrilege, I’ll even go so far as to say she’s almost like a Russian Scarlet O’Hara. Almost. A tiny bit.

    But in a way, I think, everything seems false and out-of-place in this chapter – but only because that’s how this strange, forced separation, has impacted on Natasha and Andrei, and the rest of the Rostovs. No one really knows how to behave – I guess because no one really understands why things are happening as they are.

    I think for me, though, the climax is when Andrei finally takes his leave. It’s all so understated, almost surreally so. I can’t help but see the whole thing as a bad omen, and a sign that things should not be happening as they are. And it seems that even Andrei himself senses this, when he momentarily hesitates, almost changing his mind, before he finally leaves.

    I found the whole Chapter really very unsettling – which is, of course, exactly as it should be. Their coming together, over the past several chapters, seemed so right. And now their parting, so sudden and abrupt, seems so wrong.

  3. Hi, Carly.

    I was just reading Matt’s blog and noticed your questions. (I’m his wife btw).

    Anyway, worldtimeserver.com is brilliant for looking up times. I just looked up Toronto’s current time (which is 8pm, Thursday) and right now it’s 12noon on Friday here so that would mean that when it’s midnight in Toronto it’s 4pm here (16 hours ahead).

    Why did you ask?

  4. Hi Rachel … great to meet you at last (well, sort of meet you!!) I can’t remember from Matt’s blog whether he has so far managed to convince you to read W & P – but, you know, you should. We need the numbers!!!

  5. Hi Rachel . . . oh, I was just curious . . . I’m here at 10 am Friday morning, and it’s actually 2 am Saturday in Australia?

    My granddaughter’s name is Rachel.

    So you’re not reading W & P, eh?

    Say hi to Matt and ask him where his entry is for 6.25 . . .

  6. I mention this blog in other online book discussions to see if I can attract any victims . . . er . . . er . . . participants – ha ha!

    I’m still active at the Barnes n’ Noble threads on W & P . . . we’re also doing some Chekhov.

    Rachel? What are you reading?

  7. To me, the chapter of description of how Andrei interacted with the Rostov family before his departure is the richest in ‘what ifs’ almost of the whole book. All of a sudden this morose, self-punishing guy has become light-hearted, able to effortlessly have fun with everybody in the family. ‘He could tell a story very well’. And the description of how he ‘abandoned himself completely to his laughter’ when Natasha got in one of her mad moods. I wish we could see that in one of the movie versions. If they’d stayed together, could he have kept this up? Could Natasha’s spirit have unlocked all that denied spontaneity and love of life in him – and kept it unlocked – unlike what we presume happened with Lise? Oh, if only, if only.

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