Sunday, 19 April 2015

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

Okay, so I actually finished the whole thing about an hour ago and I'm so happy I actually feel a little bit nauseous.

Basically, I was running a little behind this week so yesterday I had to make a concerted push to finish this week's reading on time. I mean, I was damned if I wasn't going to finish with everybody else after putting this much effort in, amIrite?

I finished the book, closed it with a sigh of relief... and then wasted a whole hour asking everybody if I should move on to the book that I really want to read or push on, finish the Epilogue and then read my new book guilt-free. I know, sometimes I act like a gigantic douchey knob. This is not new information.

So anyway, I decided to press on and I have now read every last bloody page of War & Peace. Not to rub it in too much, as this time next week you'll all be in this position, but it feels unbelievable, if a little confusing.

I contemplated picking up my new book and then realised that I could pick up anything I wanted after that... and it seems inherently odd. I think reading what we want may take some getting used to.

The point, is I'm actually quite giddy and I genuinely felt a bit sick when I finished. OH MY GOD, I'VE FINISHED.

I'm answering these as if I have no idea what happens in the Epilogue, by the way. 

1) Do you think the book ended in a funny place or did it seem like a logical place for the story to end?
It seemed inherently odd to me. It just kind of... ended, with no wrapping up or logical conclusion.

Did Marya and Rostov get married? Did Natasha and Pierre? Did the Countess die? What happened to Sonya?

Aside from anything else, what the fuck happened to Napoleon!!??

2) How do you see the characters five years on from now? Will everybody get a happy ever after? 

I do know the answer to this so I'm going to go off on a mild tangent to avoid spoilering everybody else.
Ugghhhh, Natasha and Pierre. This is what I was half-ranting about a fortnight ago. Why are they together again? I see him as quite old and odd, and Natasha as quite young and flighty. I mean, wasn't the whole point of the preceeding chapters that she fell tragically back in love with Andrey? 
ONCE AGAIN, it feels like Tolstoy just bunged in whatever he needed to happen to suit the storyline he dreamt up THAT MINUTE and never bothered going back to edit. dhf\sdlhughju\sg! 

3) Do you think Tolstoy is a biased narrator? If so, in what way?

I felt he was quite neutral towards the beginning of the book, when he seemed quite pro-Napoleon and was talking about his honour and things. Now, not so much.
Even aside from the page he spent rambling about Napoleon's head-cold, his tone has completely changed. THIS IS WHAT I MEAN. He just shoves parts into the story and changes his mind over and over! HAVE SOME CONSISTENCY.   

4) Are you still enjoying this book or are you honestly just waiting for the damn thing to stop talking?

Does my phrasing of this question not adequately give it away?
I have enjoyed reading this book - it's much better and more interesting than I thought it would be - but it absolutely does not need to be this long. I've managed to read the odd book alongside, but not many. I actually can't wait to read something that isn't set in 1812 Russia. 


  1. We are all gigantic douchey knobs sometimes. Congratulations on finishing!!! I am very excited about getting to the end myself!

    I wonder if he will actually wrap up the war stuff... because I'm assuming that it was kind of common knowledge what happened at the time the book was written, but I don't actually know! Hehe.

    No no, the whole point of the preceding chapters was that Natasha "redeemed herself" by being in love with Andrei again, so that she would be good enough for Pierre! Her feelings have nothing to do with this story!

    At this point I really feel like Tolstoy could have done with having a good editor and having a computer to make it easy to change everything and make it consistent. Oh well...

    I think we are probably all in agreement that it is far too long. There are so many places he could have cut things and made it much better... oh well. I can remember reading an author interview with.. someone a few years ago where it said that for every final page in a published book they write about 18 pages and then cut out all of the excess stuff... it's almost like Tolstoy tried that method but forgot about the cutting out bit. Silly Tolstoy!

    1. Haha, it's really hard responding to comments without being spoilery. I think it was common knowledge though. To be fair, it's like an English author writing about WWII in the 1980s - we all know what happened without having our hands held through it!

      Oh, do you think? I hadn't thought of that. How exactly does falling back in love with the man you jilted make you a better person again? :/ I'm not arguing with your point, just Tolstoy. In general, really.

      An editor. If only.

    2. That is true!

      I don't actually think that she managed to redeem herself, but I think that was what Tolstoy was trying to do. Maybe not the falling back in love with him bit, but the fact that she did pretty much stay by his side until he died maybe. I wasn't being entirely serious about that point though! It makes me sad in this book how women's lives just completely revolve around men...

  2. "I'm so happy I actually feel a little bit nauseous." - that's exactly how I would feel after running a marathon with the rushing endorphin, and that's pretty much what we did - IN OUR HEADS. This is spot on. However, I haven't gotten to the epilogue yet, so when you say that you're a bit confused... this does not bode well for me! Anyway, after reading for two readalongs these past few months, I have a bit of Stockholm Syndrome... wait, what do you mean I can read other books?

    I felt that the ending had just enough to anticipate that things will go well for Pierre, but I NEED the epilogue. I want a finality to the plot, I need closure, I need a happy ending to show that all these months of reading meant something! If it had just ended the way it did in chapter 15, I think I would have hurled the book out the window!

    1. It's true - a three month marathon! It feels amazing that I don't have to finish my current book by Sunday in order to get next week's reading done!

      Oh, you did the Villette one too, didn't you? You're a braver woman than me! I don't think I couldn't handle TWO lots of obligatory reading!

      I'm just going to stay quiet on this, I think :)

    2. Yes, I did the Villette one (now THAT one had a terrible ending), but I enjoy reading with the company of others. It's also gotten me to blog consistently, so there's that.


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