We've been reading this a whole month and we haven't crumbled and died! Go us!
Having said that, this week was the only week so far that reading War & Peace has felt like a chore; something to be borne out instead of enjoyed. That's partly due to the fact that the last Part was just odd, but mostly due to the fact that I'm starting a new job tomorrow and I've spent a large portion of the last week getting drunk with old colleagues and shopping for work clothes (not at the same time, obviously).
Still, I finished the reading yesterday and even had time to read a lighter book alongside, Redshirts by John Scalzi. It's amazing - sort of a very meta version of Star Trek.
Anyway, let's talk about what we're meant to be talking about.
Part III was fine - lots of drama about who's falling in love with whom and whose wife is now pretending to be an intellectual. Fun times. Part IV felt like bad fanfiction, I swear. I know I've been slightly grouchy this weekend, but come on - long chapters about hunting and then manic peasant dancing with a creepy uncle? I'm alright, thanks.
1) Do you feel that the tone of the novel changed this week?
Only with Book IV, like I said above. The dancing part had a really manic tone to it and it creeped me out quite a lot. I'm not sure if it was meant to symbolise Natasha's state of mind or something that went just as far over my head, but I didn't enjoy it. I really hope it goes back to normal next week.
On the bright side, at least we still haven't gone back into the trenches, which would have been worse. I mean, I know it's coming as I'm fairly au fait with Napoleonic history, but I'm savouring the scandalous gossip whilst I can.
2) Do you think that the story is uniquely Russian, or could it have been set somewhere else?
Leaving aside the references to Napoleonic invasion as they quite obviously set it in Russia (although I suppose they could equally place it in Egypt or Italy), it could probably have been set in most places during that time period.
The matchmaking, the drama and the parental judgement could be straight out of a Jane Austen novel, although there seems to be a more distinct social class divide than in 1800s England.
3) How about Andrey and Natasha's nupitals? Will they ever get married and do you think it will work out?
I don't know. It seems really odd that Andrey keeps putting it off - I know that his father doesn't consent, but he doesn't seem all that fussed about it and it's not like he visits her often. I wouldn't be surprised if he was just destined to be doomed in love - Lise died in childbirth and it doesn't look like this is going well either.
I don't have strong feelings about their relationship either way, but I am interested in the age gap. Does anyone know how much older he is than her?
4) Could Rostov have done more to help out his parents with their financial situation?
ARGH. Are you joking, Past-Hanna-Who-Wrote-These-Questions!? How could he possibly have done more than grudgingly come home, shout at the Steward and then decide he'd rather not bother with the finances but would happily take over the hunting side of things instead!?
Also, and I should have wrote a question about this, but I thought Sonya was his sister. I mean, clearly not, and I do give him brownie points for refusing to marry for money, but still. He irks me.
5) How do you feel about the lengthy hunting descriptions? Did you read the whole thing?
In all honesty, I barely read any of it. I didn't really even try. I skimmed a line or so of each page and then just flicked forward to where it stopped telling me where each and every horse was stood. Go me and my tiny rebellion!