Reading for Monday, 16 February
Two concerts of Gidon Kremer and his hand-picked orchestra, Kremerata Baltica, have wreaked havoc with any attempts to get on here and blog.
But I’m back now. And in this chapter, we find that Kutuzov has to actually make his decision. And Tolstoy slows time down for a beautifully detailed recreation of what that meeting would have been like. Was there really a little girl in the room listening in? Did Kutuzov really sit with his face hidden in shadow so people couldn’t see how disappointed he was?
I don’t know – but it feels real. And there’s nothing more awe-inspiring than when Kutuzov says that he will have to pay for the broken pots. Ultimately, whoever said we should abandon Moscow was going to be considered a coward. But in the Tolstoy-painted version of reality, there was no other choice that could be made. It was going to inevitably happen because that’s the way the crowd was moving.
And, we’re left again with Kutuzov pondering the continuity/discrete sections dilemma – at what particular point did he lose Moscow? (Not realising that there was no particular point – it was a smooth slide that led inevitably there.)