Reading for Monday, 2 December 2008
Here’s one of those novelistic twists of fate where everything gets undone. Marya Dmitryevna has the very sensible idea of sending the girls home, realising that they’re never going to get in Bolkonsky’s good books.
She’s just thinking of it as a way of sorting out the Bolkonsky mess. We realise it’s the last chance we have of stopping Natasha doing something really stupid . . .
But then a letter arrives. The beauty of the description of this letter (which I’m sure would sound rather trite and insincere) is that Tolstoy instead describes the effect it has upon Natasha . . . She was kind of 50/50 on the fence about Anatole before it arrived. Now she knows she’s in love . . .