Title: War and Peace
Author: Leo Tolstoy
Widely considered the greatest novel ever written in any language, War and Peace has as its backdrop Napoleon’s invasion of Russia and at its heart three of the most memorable characters in literature: Pierre Bezukhov, a quixotic young man in search of spiritual joy; Prince Andrey Bolkonsky, a cynical intellectual transformed by the suffering of war; and the bewitching and impulsive Natasha Rostov, daughter of a count. As they seek fulfillment, fall in love, make mistakes, and become scarred by battle in different ways, these characters and their stories interweave with those of a huge cast, from aristocrats to peasants, from soldiers to Napoleon himself.
Well that was absolutely brilliant.
I have to admit I started reading War and Peace a couple of times before but couldn’t make myself interested in it, so I just left it for another time. This time I stuck with it and it was so worth it. I LOVE THIS BOOK.
I didn’t really know anything about this story before reading it, and I’m glad I didn’t. With books as famous as this one, it’s so easy to be accidentaly spoiled, but somehow, luckily, I never came across any spoilers (that I remember). I’m not usually intimidated by books, especially not because of their size, but I was a little intimidated by War and Peace. But after reading it, I’d say it’s one of the most approachable classics I’ve read. Tolstoy tells the story of Pierre, Natasha, Andrei and many other characters, mixes them up with his observations on history, war, free will and it’s never, ever boring.
At first the number of characters made things a bit difficult; figuring out who’s related to whom reminded me of reading Game of Thrones. In retrospect, one of those family trees would have helped – if only I thought of that earlier. The characters are amazing, Tolstoy made me fall in love with all of them, good or bad. Pierre is one of my favorite characters in literature ever.
Books as long as this one usually have lots of unnecessary details, but in the case of War and Peace, I wish there were more details. I want to read more about Dolokhov’s family, more about the lives of Anatole and Helene and every word of every conversation that was quickly skipped over in the book.
The story is a mix of fact and fiction. It’s yet another book that makes me want to learn more history so I can properly criticise it. I’d recommend this to everybody and I’m gonna reread this book many, many times.