"Times are tough, anxiety and fear are pervasive, and people are searching for answers to questions big and small. The country is at war, change is in the air, and the future remains uncertain. Welcome to Russia at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Welcome to the World of Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace" [Loc 346, Simon & Schuster eBook]
I actually started this morning and against all of my expectations, I like it. Sure, there are an awful lot of people milling about and many a Russian name but it's no more difficult to follow than any other classic and it's not particularly hard to read.
I'm reading a free Kindle edition because 1,200 + pages are heavy and I figured I could just ditch it without feeling guilty if it turned out to be rubbish. So far, I'm quite impressed. The translation doesn't feel awkward and it translates where the characters drift off into French. And it has a great introduction. I don't usually read introductions because I hate it when they usually have a pretty liberal approach to doling out the spoilers but this one was kind of a ode to Tolstoy and the enthusiasm was infectious. I found myself genuinely looking forward to getting started, which was tremendously unsettling. The relaxed tone helped. If you have a Kindle and haven't got started, I recommend having a nosy at this introduction, even if just for the random facts about Tolstoy like this one:
"Tolstoy could be wildly unpragmatic, and the career advice he gave to his eldest son, Seryozha,upon graduation from the university - "Take a broom and sweep the streets" - borders on what can only be called parental malpractice. As does his intention to give his and his family's property away to the peasants, and his renunciation of the copyright on all of his earlier works, including War and Peace and Anna Karenina" [Loc 494, Simon & Schuster eBook]
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See you all next Sunday to chatter about Book One! We can do this.