And we rejoin Andrei again, only to find him in the worst state we’ve seen him yet for the whole book.

He wants to kill Kuragin (or get killed by him – it doesn’t matter as long as there’s an element of revenge in there), the rest of the Bolkonsky family is in a bitter row, and he doesn’t feel any affection for his son.

It’s not looking good.  The most shocking thing for me was that, when confronted by his father (who well and truly sets the tone and is the “elephant in the room” in this house) – rather than blaming his father – he blames Mademoiselle Bourienne.  What’s with that?  I think father and son are fairly similar . . .

Anyway, as with Book 1, Andrei is heading off to war leaving a lot of tension behind . . .


3 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 9.8 – Family Woes

  1. Thought I’d pop in . . .

    I’ve caught up on all the blogs, up to and including 8.22.

    Hope all is well with you two fellas’ . . .

  2. Yes, this certainly is a dismal chapter. There’s probably something a bit perverse about me, but I really do love this sort of writing – and maybe that’s why I am such a Russophile, because there’s just so much of this sort of bleak unhappiness in Russian literature.

    I can only think that the reason Andrei chooses to attack Mlle Bourienne is that he probably knows that she is a source of some joy to his father and so he attempts to hurt and disgruntle him by attacking her.

    But, for me, it was the scene with his son that I found the saddest of all in this chapter – this little boy, the only spark of hope and happiness in this staid old family, in this staid old house, is the one from whom Andrei seems the most disconnected of all. And the image of this little, hopeful, boy, wanting to his father to tel him the end of the story about Bluebeard, being just left there, alone, was just heartbreaking.

  3. Hi,

    This is my first post. I found your blog through world literature forum. War and Peace is one of the greatest books I have ever read. Well, I’m a bit of an insomniac so over a number of months I have listened to a reading of this book three times. It’s a lot easier on the eyes to listen to it! So I know the story quite well.

    I just re-read chapter 8 again so that I can comment on it. Yes definitely a very miserable chapter. Very deep. Prince Andrew is definitely a man of integrity. Matt – I’m not sure why you are so sympathetic to Mademoiselle Bourienne. She is worthless trash because she is driving a wedge between father and daughter or at least complicit with this problem.

    Ian I don’t think there is anything perverse about loving this literature. Suffering is part of the human condition. Tolstoy does a brilliant job in illuminating it. Do you think Mademoiselle Bourienne and the old prince are romantically involved? I’m not sure if this is what Tolstoy had in mind and was engaging in a form of self censorship.

    Two of my favourite quotes from the chapter:

    “a man should not and cannot forgive and forget”
    “My boy is growing up and rejoices in life, in which like everybody else he will deceive or be deceived.”


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