I started reading Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace yesterday. It seems this book is synonymous with “big book”. My edition has 1,442 pages; but when I think about it, several series over the last few years have significantly more pages than War and Peace. I think of a certain kid’s series with a boy wizard that is at least twice as long. In reading a little about War and Peace, I found out that the novel was originally published in serial format and the novel now is separated into four books, though they are together in one volume.
So far the story reminds me very much of Jane Austen’s writing. The novel initially begins in 1805, right around the time that Jane Austen’s novels were published. The characters attend quite a few parties and balls and discuss love, life, and politics. Their conversations seem to be on a grander scale than the conversations in Austen’s novels, though. Perhaps in part due to the continuous mention of Emperor Alexander I of Russia and Napoleon Bonaparte.
During the first gathering, the hostess, Anna Pavlovna, spends her time bouncing from one group of people to another making sure nobody is stepping on anyone’s toes with their political discussions. I’ve been to parties like this. At the (outloud) musings of Pierre Bezuhov regarding Napoleon (Pierre could be called “pro-Bonaparte”), one of his acquaintances tells him “My dear fellow, one can’t everywhere and at all times say all one thinks.”
So true, so true. I think I’m going to enjoy this book.