Reading for Thursday, 12 March

And now the French arrive. Ironically, Pierre was out to kill their leader but his compassion (which was always bound to win out in the end) leads him to rescue a French officer.

Thus we’re left with a perplexed Pierre, wondering if he’s really on the side of the Russians, and French soldiers who consider Pierre one of their own . . .

Have you noticed how War and Peace has really entered another world now? After three quarters of a book of aristocratic houses and battlefields, this new world of deserted cities and occupied houses is a bizarre new setting. In this kind of world, anything is likely to happen.

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One thought on “One-Year War and Peace 11.28 – The French in the House

  1. Yes, there is certainly a rough, dark edge to the scenes now – more grubby characters, more scenes on the streets and in the gutters, than before: people drunk, and drunk in an ugly way (not that Tolstoy’s picture of the more refined side of Russian society was particularly flattering either, mind you).

    Maybe it’s all to some extent a metaphor for the demise of Russia and Moscow – and yet, at the same time, I always think Tolstoy writes in ways that have a universal meaning as well as a local meaning. So it’s not just about Russia – it’s about all of us, and what happens to us when we are immersed in the horros of war and of people destroying one another. And yet, in the middle of all that, as always, there is a glimpse of humanity – two people, from opposing sides, suddenly relating not as foes but as friends … more of which we see in the next chapter.

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