Reading for Tuesday, 23 December
I must admit, I don’t remember a lot of these chapters last time I read the novel (I think I was starting to speed-read by this stage and take in less). So a lot of these chapters I feel like I’m reading for the first time. But then, that is the joy of a one chapter a day regime . . .
Also, what’s making it trickier is that Tolstoy is setting up the vast background details of the war, so everything’s starting to feel a bit “plotless” again. Remember at the beginning of the novel, how everything felt a bit random and all over the place? However, by the time we got to the whole Andrei/Natasha engagement subplot, everything felt a lot more plotted and worked out.
Now it seems like we’re back to random territory again. However, that’s all okay.
So we find this rather surreal little interlude of the Russian soldiers all crammed into the little inn and chatting up the doctor’s German wife. I’m not sure that the doctor or his wife ever make a subsequent appearance, but that doesn’t matter. For the duration of this chapter, the scene feels as if it is straight from real life.
The real question is, would anyone want to leave their wife in a room full of Russian soldiers?