Reading for Thursday, 26 March

And, as if to remind us, that nothing is every truly black and white, Tolstoy takes us back to Sonya, and lets us into her world.

I quite liked this chapter. First of all, Sonya is starting to grow up and get a bit sick of being the Rostov’s lapdog. But she does it in rather passive-aggressive ways.

So here we see her making all the calculations and placing her bets on Prince Andrei surviving, marrying Natasha, and thus making void Marya and Nikolai getting married.

So why not say no? Look like the innocent martyr, and wait to cash in on the inevitable proposal from Nikolai that will come a bit later?

For the life of me, I cannot remember what happened to Sonya in the rest of the book, so I’m as curious to see how everything turns out as anyone else.

Back to reading, I think . . .

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2 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 12.8 – The Other Side of the Story

  1. Well, I actually know what happens to her . . . seeing as how I’m at the end of the novel now. But enough for now – we’ll discuss it when we get there.

  2. I felt this chapter was yet another example (as if another example was needed) of Tolstoy’ brilliant attention to detail – the way he puts in little things that somehow make things so familiar. The whole story about Sonya, the pressure on her to renounce Nikolai, her sadness and all the complexity of Nikolai/Marya and Andrei/Natasha, is something that is already described wonderfully by Tolstoy – a complex web of relationships – and then, in the middle of it all, he adds this little story about Sonya having this manufactured memory about what she saw in the mirror on that night in Otradnoe. I, for one, can recognise that sort of thing so well – memories rewriting history, in a way that leaves you believing that things really did happen in the way your mind has rewritten them. So even though we are in the midst of this extrordinary labyrinth of emotional connections, this simple little story, told almost on the side, makes the whole thing seem so familiar, however removed from us the romantic intrigues of the Rostovs and the Bolkonskys might nevertheless be.

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