Sunday, 8 March 2015

War & Peace Read-a-long: Hanna's Week Five Check-In

It's a blessing this week's reading was quite short as I ended up reading the whole thing yesterday. I started a new job this week and, while I feel I'm going to really enjoy it, I've pretty much been getting home and falling straight into bed. Not much time for reading, especially something that actually requires you to concentrate on unnecessarily similar Russian names.

However, I sat down with it yesterday and really liked this week's chapters. Don't get me wrong, I pretty much want to slap everyone. Including Tolstoy, actually:

Julie was now twenty-seven. By now she has lost what looks she ever had.
Cheers for that. Better find myself a husband pretty damn sharp, then?

1) Could the disastrous meeting between Marya and Natasha have gone any other way? Who was to blame?

Of course it could. It could have gone better in a million different ways. I'm tempted to lean over and say it was Natasha's fault, but I've decided that most things are Natasha's fault this week. It could be raining outside and it would still be Natasha's fault.

She'd pretty much decided that Andrey's family were going to hate her before she even arrived, so she had a whole bunch of preconceptions that didn't help. She was so snooty and irritating.

Marya should have sent Mademoiselle Bourienne away when it became clear that her presence wasn't helping, but then again she did extend an olive branch to Natasha with that nice letter. You know, the one she replied to with 'Eh, who cares now? Tell your brother I've dumped him?'

3) Everyone seems to be secretly considering Marya for marriage at the moment. Do you think it will ever happen for her? Was Boris right to pick Julie?  

She's probably the one person I feel sort of bad for this week. Her father is just awful (another person I want to throw my book at). He clearly has some mental health difficulties, but her life is so miserable that it's no wonder she's turned to religion.

I don't see her ever getting married, to be honest. I'm not sure she'd be a good wife, as horrendous as that sounds. She's become so down-trodden and mild that nobody could respect her. Oh wait, I forgot we're in 1812. Of course they'd want that.

I understand why Boris picked Julie, although he should totally have picked Marya. He was trying to flirt with her but she kept looking away and not understanding. With no encouragement at all, what was he meant to do?

3) There's too much drama with Natasha for me to formulate an all-encompassing question so...I don't know. Discuss.  

ARRRRRGH. What annoys me the most is that I felt really bad for her at first - her fiance had pretty much wandered off, his family hated her, Anatole was pressuring her... but she still told him to leave her alone. Not very vehemently, I'll admit, but she tried. Her feelings for him were quite cute - she just wanted to be loved after Andrey wasn't being particularly helpful.

BUT THEN SHE BETRAYED ME AND MY FAITH. That girl needs a slap. Just decided to believe she was completely in love with this sleazy bloke that she'd met twice, who told her he was in love after meeting her once. No red flags there, Natasha dear?

Don't completely throw away your engagement to a man you professed to love for another man who refuses to tell anybody about your relationship and insists on eloping!

'With things as they are I have to choose, and I can't be happy unless I have both of them. I know one thing,' she thought. 'Telling Prince Andrey what's happened and hiding it from him are equally impossible. But with him nothing's been spoilt.'
Please tell me you're not going to break off your engagement and elope because it's easier? God, I hate you so much.

Sonya deserves a medal though. Confronting Natasha and trying to save her from herself can't have been easy, especially when she went all rabid and psychotic. Is this what women are like!? Are we all this dramatic about men!? 

   "The moment I set eyes on him, I knew he was my master and I was his slave, and I couldn't help loving him. Yes, his slave! I'll do whatever he commands. You wouldn't understand."
   "Well, stop and think what you're doing," said Sonya. "I can't leave things like this. These secret letters... How could you let him do all that?" she said, with scarcely concealed horror and revulsion.
   "I've just told you," answered Natasha. "I have no will of my own. Can't you get it into your head? I'm in love with him!"
   "Well, I can't let it go on like this. I'm going to tell on you," cried Sonya, bursting into tears.
   "You what? For heaven's sake... If you tell on me, we're enemies," said Natasha. "You want me to be miserable. You want them to come between us..."
I can't remember how old she is, but definitely old enough to know better. I really, really was not impressed with Natasha Rostov this week.

4) Lots of characters are being fairly dickish this week. Who wins the prize for the person you'd most like to slap?  

Ha. There are lots of contenders. Natasha wins outright, but also:

Tolstoy for his theories about women of twenty-seven.
Anatole for screwing around with younger women when he's technically already married.
Dolokhov for helping him, but also for scouting round for new people to bankrupt.
Rostov for still not helping his parents financially.
Marya for not seending away Mademoiselle Bourienne.
Mara's father quite a lot, mainly for just being an arse.



  1. This might just be me, but I was definitely picking up a very anti-Natasha vibe from your post this week! Hehe.

    I forgot about the 27 thing.. it's already too late for me...

    Yeah, Sonya is still alright! I mean, she still doesn't have a personality, but at least she has morals? Sonya and Marya are maybe the only two people in this book that I don't dislike at the moment, and I'm not a massive fan of either of them. Maybe if Marya can actually learn to stand up for herself by the end of the novel I might become a Marya fan!

    1. Yup. Pretty much. I felt bad for her at first, but then... no. Girl needs to get her act together.

      It's almost too late for me. I've got a year and a half left before I turn into the Wicked Witch of the West, clearly.

      I like Marya, but possibly only in contrast to my dislike of everybody else! I just feel so bad for her, having to deal with her father on her own. I do have newfound respect for Sonya though - basically saying "What is WRONG with you!?" when she found Anatole's letter to Natasha.

  2. Congrats on starting the new job! Hopefully you fall into the rhythm of things so you won't end up feeling as exhausted!

    Damn, Tolstoy. I'm 28. Guess I better start working on my spinster biography!

    This week's questions were as fantastic as ever - I got so fired up that the last question was hard to answer! I wanted to line everyone up in a tight-circle and just do an efficient spinning backhand so EVERYONE gets a slap. However, I ended up settling on no-good Anatole.

    1. Thank you :) I am really enjoying it, it's just a lot to take in all at once. It'll be worth it!

      Oh, absolutely. Unless you're an heiress, you're pretty much past it now :p

      Haha, sometimes I really struggle to come up with prompts but this week was easy. So much happened and a lot of it irritated me so much that I HAD to talk about it!

      That sounds like an amazing plan. Do that. I ended up with Natasha, I think, but Anatole was a close second.

  3. I *loved* last week's chapters! Reading people's posts and remembering how good they really were makes me feel better about this week's military heavy chapters :|

    I never thought I'd feel sorry for Andrey/Andrew but I do now. Natasha has gone from being one of my favourites to someone I can't bear. Why would she let us down, Hanna? WHY?!

    Also, do you know what's weird? I actually don't hate Dolokhov. I would totally slap him because I really think he deserves it and he is generally a prat but I find his kind of an entertaining dickishness. Maybe because he's just always awful every time he turns up but properly awful, as opposed to just stupid? I don't know.


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