Reading for Friday, 3 April
And here we have the end of Andrei. This is officially his third “dying” moment in the whole book. The first time, he thought he was dead after his charge with the flag, right back at the battle of . . . hmm, it’s so long ago, even I have trouble remembering . . . the battle of Schöngraben, that’s right.
But he survived.
Then we had his next dying moment when he got blown up at Borodino.
But he survived that one as well (well, kind of – he’s here dying now because of the wound he got there).
But now at least, death really does come – which is quite a big thing, because unlike a lot of epic novels, not a lot of the main characters die in War and Peace.
I don’t want to really rave too much about the chapter – I think it speaks for itself fairly well. But I love the whole “dream sequence” (at least that’s the way Bondarchuk presented it), with the big door and It behind it.
But probably most brilliant of all is the crying scene in the last few paragraphs – where everyone comes to the coffin and cries over Andrei for various reasons of their own.
Interesting bit of trivia, this last section is one of those test cases for English translators of War and Peace. Depending which version you read, you’ll probably find the text uses a combination of “cried” and “wept” when talking about the different characters, so as not to become too repetitive.
However, the original Russian uses the same word “cried” every time. So Nikolushka cried. The countess and Sonya cried. The count cried. Natasha cried. Marya cried.
The repetition is actually on purpose to drive home the point that they’re all going through the same grief, but in very different ways.
And that brings us to the end of Book 12. Ladies and gentlemen, we are on the home stretch, with only 1/4 more of the book to go.