Reading for Monday, 12 January

Phew! Finally, made it back – but only for one chapter today.

All I can say with this chapter is – you all need to read it for yourself, because it’s absolutely brilliant.  I’m not saying that because I don’t have time for a longer post.  It’s just simply the way it is.

If you’ve read the chapter, I don’t need to tell you how utterly moving it is.

If you haven’t read the chapter, but are hoping that I’ll give it away in my blog post – hey, I’ve got to leave you something to read in this book, definitely one of the greatest ever written.

Marya’s hope and devastation – it’s exactly what we’d expect someone in her situation to be thinking and I empathised every step of the way.  Life – you only get one crack at it, so use it wisely.

6 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 10.8 – All Over

  1. Welcome back, Matt … it’s good to see you (virtually speaking, of course) again.

    And I agree – this really is a stunner of a chapter. I’m sure I’ve commented on this before, but I really do marvel at the way Tolstoy is able to describe things with such simplicity and yet such profundity all at the one time. The picture he paints for us here of Marya at her father’s side is so unadorned, and yet we canot help but feel its intensity, the intensity of Marya’s grief, of her torn feelings of sorrow and relief and guilt, and the intensity of a man dying. Everything is described just as it is – no more, no less. But it is just so powerful – we feel ourselves there, not only as part of the scene, but almost as part of the dying.

    Almost from the beginning of joining your blog, Matt, I’ve actually been reading each chapter out loud (to my dogs, what’s more!!) and this one was one where I was just staggered, as I was reading it, by this tremendous, unpretentious, but overwhelmingly powerful, simplicity. It was a chapter I found myself reading almost with a sense of awe – both at its writing and at what it was telling. The dogs, as usual, just slept through it all.

  2. I, of course, was absolutely devastated on reading of the dear old man’s demise!


    That’s good that you read to your dogs, Ian . . . I read to Jeff at least once a day – as he’s falling off to sleep around 11 or so – our cat always sits in for that ‘reading’.

    I don’t know if you Australians would have heard about this – I doubt it – West Toronto just go over a hydro blackout . . . Jeff and I are in a motel room for the night.

    He’s the superintendent of our building and we certainly would not ‘go down with the ship’.
    As I have been very sick with the flu this week, he checked us in here, then went back up to the apartment building once they announced on TV that FULL power had been resumed.

    He managed to get one of the boilers going – the place is like a popsicle – it’s like 27 below (celsius) here – that’s calculated with ‘wind chill’.

    The other boilers have been damaged by frost, of course, because of the power having been out for 24 hours.

    A lot of people ended up in the drop in centres just to keep warm – we hung out in donut shops, going back to the building every hour or so, hoping the lights would come on.

    So here I am, 5:06 am (that’s morning, eh?) . . . had a coughing spell – it woke me up again, so I’m puttering at the War and Peace chapters.

    I’m a few chapters ahead, but you guys know what happens anyway.

  3. That all sounds pretty horrific Carly – both the blackout and . the flu. It’s amazing how sometimes these things all come together – let’s just hope that it means the year’s bad things are all getting themselves out of the way at once. I’ve actually been to Toronto – about 11 years ago now – while visiting some good friends who at the time lived in London Ontario. It really was a wonderful city, and seemed a very easy place to feel at home in. It was the first time I has seen snow other than at ski resorts. My friends are now in Edmonton Alberta, and I also have another friend in British Columbia. Hopefully I’ll get back there one day!!

    And, yeah – I really do kind of like reading to the dogs. It has become a bit of a ritual. They almost always come inside, from their usual frolickings in the backyard, to hear their daily chapter of War and Peace. Who knows – one day they might even contribute to Matt’s blog. I have been thinking I should read “Marley and Me” to them too – but then maybe a story about the world’s naughtiest dog could give them ideas.

  4. Wow! That power out sounds crazy, Carly!

    I tried reading War and Peace to my wife back when we first got married, but it was either my narration or it just didn’t get hold of her, but I gave that idea up after a while . . .

    It might be a while before I can read it to Shelby, and I don’t know if it will be her kind of thing.

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