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JacobF
08-19-2008, 02:06 AM
I started reading this about a week ago, and im up to page 147 now. Frankly, I'm finding it difficult to read. I can see why it is regarded as one of the best works of literature ever written, but there's so many different characters, so many setting changes, that sometimes I just can't understand what's going on or what the significance of any of the conflicts are.

I'm not a seasoned reader by any means. I'm 16, and while i have read my fair share of books this has got to be the most difficult of books I have read. So should I continue reading it and hope it gets a little easier? Or should I read it another time?

I don't hate reading it. I actually enjoy some of the parts. It just feels a little off-putting at times.

bazarov
08-19-2008, 02:47 AM
Continue, please;you will enjoy it. Later, plot will be concentrated on max 10 characters and you'll catch it easily. It's a normal problem with War and Peace:D

Welcome! :)

mortalterror
08-19-2008, 03:59 AM
You are too young for Tolstoy. Wait a few years. There's a time and a place for everything. If you read War and Peace at your age, I don't think you would understand it, no matter how intelligent you are. Tolstoy requires life experience, and sometimes cliffnotes.

jikan myshkin
08-19-2008, 04:01 AM
it's some of the most beautiful prose ever written

kasie
08-19-2008, 05:17 AM
Try making a list of the characters and their relationship to each other. Even if there is a list at the front of the copy, make your own and use it as a bookmark. Keep going for a few more chapters then if you really can't get into it, put it to one side for a while, maybe even a few years.

I wouldn't go as far as Mortalterror in suggesting you are too young for the book, but you may have bitten off more than you can chew at the moment - don't think you have failed, there's a right and a wrong time for some books: don't abandon it completely, just put it aside for the moment and come back to it in a few months/years with a bit more reading experience under your belt, then I am sure you will be able to cope with it and count it among the great reading events of your life.

MorpheusSandman
08-19-2008, 12:53 PM
War and Peace is a bit of a rough start because there's a lot of historical acclimation that a reader must understand to comprehend the full context of the story. Even though I'm only about 2/3 of the way through it, W&P is already one of my favorite books. It touches on seemingly every major aspect of existence at one point or another, all the while maintaining a focus on characters and a narrative that I think is genuinely entertaining. More than any book I've read W&P has so many "moments" that just take your breathe away due to the lucidity of Tolstoy's writing, and what's remarkable is that it can be completely different things at different moments. Tolstoy is a master at manipulating reader perspective to make them understand what they need to understand when they need to understand it - like the way he immerses the reader in the battles before going off on even a small tangent about looking up at the sky.

The above posts may be right though that you're too young to appreciate W&P. I would've never even thought of reading it at 16. I'm 23 now and I can say that I haven't had any problem with it and find it quite engaging, but whether I would've 4 or 5 years ago I can't really say.

Agatha
08-19-2008, 01:48 PM
I don't think that you can't fully understead and appreciate War and Peace at 16. I'm the best example that some of you are wrong :) I read it few months ago, and War and Peace is doubtless one of my favourite books. And I'm not an exception, I know a few other people, who read this book when they're teenager.
For me, the hardest parts of novel were descriptions of battles and all sorts of things connected with warfare. But even the descriptions of battles have some really beautiful moments and aren't just boring war reports. So it's certainly worth to get thorugh, let's say 'less interesting' parts of War and Peace. So really don't give up :) And maybe if you really can't read this, wait few weeks/months and try again.

mortalterror
08-19-2008, 05:29 PM
With all due respect to Agatha, I doubt she understood this book if she read it at age 16 either. She may have enjoyed it, but that is another thing. This book deals at length with mature adult psychology and relationships. The characters in the book grow and change as a result of their experiences in life, experiences a sixteen year old wouldn't have had time to accumulate. Most people don't have the opportunity to see first hand the results of war, family death, adultery, religious conversion, marriage, childbirth, or reversal of fortune in the time frame we're working with. The world they know is malls, video games, family members, five or six friends which for all intents and purposes might as well be mirrors of themselves and the area around their home. But once you are older, and have met more of the personality types present in this book, gone through a few of the situations yourself, I think you are much more prepared to have a grown up appreciation of what Tolstoy accomplished.

The prose is not difficult. It is surprisingly clear and uncomplicated. If all you want is to turn the pages, look at the text, and then brag that you've read it; then go ahead.

Leabhar
08-19-2008, 05:47 PM
Life experiences don't matter as much as maturity and intelligence for reading it. You could go through many experiences detailed in War and Peace, and being immature, you wouldn't get much experience out of it. I think an above average intelligence 16 year old has a better chance of understanding it all than a average intelligence 60 year old.

BlackPuma
08-19-2008, 11:17 PM
I think you would make a GRAND mistake giving up!

I have just finished this masterpiece my self, and my only advice would be dont do yourself a diservice of stopping. There are many things in this book I have not gone through in life (im 26) but with the attachment I felt to each character I learned from their experiances within the novel. Your never too young to learn! I will leave you with these words from J. dONALD Adams:
"Reading War and Peace for the first time is one of the greatest literary experiances; reading it again and again is to realize the immeasurable gulf that is fixed between a merely good book and a great one.
By a very close approach to common consent War and Peace may be regarded as the greatest novel that has been written, the supreme fictional achievement in the literature of the world.
Here is a novel that is worth whatever time one gives to it. There is more to life between its covers than in any other existent fictional narrative. All the normal human emotions find play in this novel; practically every facet of human experiance is there. Its characters become as real to us as people whom we have known all our lives; we see them develop and change with the years and the development and change is something that proceedes from withing them ; Tolstoy does not tell us that the change takes place-we observes it ourselves. It is a novel of which one can not accuratly state the theme. One can say that it is a broadly inclusive picture of Russian life during Napoleonic period, but that is merely the accident of its setting and time. In its universal valuie it is simply human life, greatly gasped and extraordinarily presented over a period of something less than a generation. No intelligent person can read it without a deep enrichment of experience. And having once read it he is certain to turn to it again, to be amazed once more by its veracity, its tremendous vitality, its epic scope. [1941]"

Lioness_Heart
08-20-2008, 03:53 PM
I think that some of the comments about being too young to appreciate it are unfair; it seems very harsh to judge someone's interests and experiences by their age. And while some life experiences may be lacking, surely empathy will allow at least a partial, if not total, appreciation of the themes and events?

I'm (17 and) reading War and Peace at the moment; I was glad when I started that I knew a little about the Russian culture and naming systems; have you read any other Russian literature to help you 'acclimatise'? I'd reccommend some of Checkhov's (sorry if I spelt that wrong) plays - one I found useful and easy to read was Uncle Vanya.

MorpheusSandman
08-21-2008, 04:20 AM
There is more to life between its covers than in any other existent fictional narrative.I adore W&P, but I think that's taking hyperbole a bit too far.

curlyqlink
08-24-2008, 04:26 PM
Well, I'm well past 16 (past 26, past 36, etc.) but I have to say I find War and Peace remarkably easy to read. Aside from its length, it could be a beach book-- I'm really finding it that involving, that accessible. It's a straightforward narrative, the prose is lucid, and there really aren't even that many characters-- really about the same number of central characters as in a Jane Austin novel.

It's a book I would even recommend for a casual book group. Seriously, broken up into sections, so people don't have to read the entire tome in one go, and it's a novel that should have wide appeal. It's a war novel for the guys, it's got love interest for women, it has meaty philosophical stuff for spurring discussion. I'm really enjoying this thing!

Etienne
08-24-2008, 04:35 PM
I think mortalterror is simply jealous that you're reading War and Peace so early, don't listen to him. It is a true masterpiece, don't give up on it, it was one of my most memorable reads personally, as the story unfolds and you get more and more involved with the different characters, it will become quite a page-turner. Also, after reading it, the whole of Russian literature will become easier, as you will be acquainted with quite a few names and the sound of the names.

Agatha
08-24-2008, 05:56 PM
This book deals at length with mature adult psychology and relationships. The characters in the book grow and change as a result of their experiences in life, experiences a sixteen year old wouldn't have had time to accumulate. Most people don't have the opportunity to see first hand the results of war, family death, adultery, religious conversion, marriage, childbirth, or reversal of fortune in the time frame we're working with. The world they know is malls, video games, family members, five or six friends which for all intents and purposes might as well be mirrors of themselves and the area around their home. But once you are older, and have met more of the personality types present in this book, gone through a few of the situations yourself, I think you are much more prepared to have a grown up appreciation of what Tolstoy accomplished.

You wrote that to understand fully and appreciate Tolstoy's accomplishment I should gain more experience. Let's assume that I agree with your outlook. But what about other books which deal at length with adult psychological matters like War and Peace? For example ... Crime and Punishment? To understand better Dostoevsky's masterpiece, to comprehend fully Raskolnikow's dilemma should I kill someone?(hmm where is my axe...). So I really can't agree with your opinion.

Before reading War and Peace I've read Anna Karenina, so I knew what style of writing I can expect(Of course those two novels are completely different but I mean the way in which Tolstoy was writing.) Besides I'm really interested in Napoleonic period which help me to understand a bit of historical background. Plus I love Russian literature(Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Bulgakov). Those are the factors which help me comprehend W&P better. I really don't try to boast myself of reading W&P at age of 16. I'm just wanna prove that it is possible to read this novel being a teenager and understand it. And in my opinion experience has nothing to deal with reading books.

Etienne
08-24-2008, 06:01 PM
And here it is shown that youth has more wisdom than some "experienced" people :lol:

blazeofglory
08-29-2008, 09:30 PM
War and Peace is an incomparably wonderful book to start with, and of course this is a big sized book and it demands of us greater attention and concentration combined with patience or else reading this will be a tiresome expereince.

I read it and reread and every time it gives me a different feeling. Tolstoy towards the end of life told us to discard all his novels save the few ones he wrote towards his old age.

I always read hungrily and avidly.

Tolstoy was an epoch. This man was an enigma and nowhere in his books we find redundancies. He had attained perfection in writing. He is matchless and I have read many books but no books can come closer to it in beauty and grand style.

curlyqlink
09-14-2008, 12:49 PM
War and Peace is an extraordinary work of art, encyclopedic in scope yet filled with intimate insights into the human condition. It is also surprisingly lively, especially in the person of Pierre.

It does have its flaws. I think the novel strays when it turns its focus onto historical characters and events. Especially events. (And this is a big problem in an historical novel.)

Tolstoy rails and pontificates against historians. He believes that much of what drives history is random; fair enough, that's a fine place for a novelist to start, and the rival "great man" theory of history needs to be given a kick in the pants now and then. Unfortunately his own pet theory is that history is predestined-- at least, that is what I understand from the long didactic passages he indulges in. Problem is,
Tolstoy's pet theory of what drives history is no more convincing than the theories of the historians he ridicules. Tolstoy's is based on pretty shaky foundations, and has the added disadvantage of not really getting us anywhere: the French retreated from Moscow because they must retreat from Moscow, Napoleon's army collapsed because it must collapse. And yet he goes on about this theory of randomness and predestination, telling us again and again that the general's decisions did not matter, their plans were futile. Tolstoy repeats himself excessively... and it's hardly a complex, or even terribly significant or interesting, point that he is conveying.

Tolstoy is also quite the Russian chauvinist. Napoleon is made ridiculous. Tolstoy is crudely insulting: "Napoleon, the most insignificant tool of history, who never even in exile displayed one trait of human dignity..." (15, V).

Really? Not one trait? Ever? Napoleon founded a French empire, however short-lived it was. He shared most of the flaws of empire-builders, but why precisely he was any more rapacious or ridiculous or "insignificant" than any of the emperors of Russia, including Tsar Nicholas, is something I don't fathom. Unfortunately, it is Tolstoy who makes himself ridiculous slinging insults at Napoleon. This nationalist bias seems unworthy of such a great writer, and it's a shame that he descended to such pettiness. Repeatedly.

WildCityWoman
09-26-2008, 08:57 PM
Well, I'm stepping back into the discussion on September 26th, 2k8 . . . I've been following the discussions at Barnes n' Noble, and also on Matt's Blog.

Tonight I finished listening to Book 7 . . . I've stopped here for two reasons:

1) I'd like very much to go back and re-digest . . . I'm going to actually 'read' more of the text instead of just the audio this time . . .

2) Libra Vox has only put books 1 to 7 up for download - our library here in Toronto doesn't seem to have a complete audio.

I prefer the audio because I'm able to work at my gardening while I'm listening.

I've started back at Book 1 and going over it again. There's a Mind Map on this, btw . . . I'm going to make a shortcut to it on my desktop and apply myself to remembering who the people are.

You eventually remember it anyway, especially the main characters, but it's just a matter of mental exercise.

.................................................. ..

I agree - it's a wonderful story and has just about every fictional story in it possible.

.................................................. ..

But me? No, I don't think I could have gone through this book at age 16 - I admire those who can.

I read somewhere recently that one ought to read good books once when they're young, once when they're middle-aged and once when they're old.

I agree with that.

........................................

I'm looking forward to reading through all your posts and exchanging insights on the book.

classics junkie
10-17-2008, 04:03 PM
Yay my first post!!

Well now I feel odd because I read War and Peace when I was 14 and 15. It took me about a year and a month to read and I restarted it twice before I finally finished it. I loved it and was fine with the fact that I didn't get everything. It was difficult to get through Tolstoy's rants on his philosophies of war and on other historians but it was all worth it when I read the character's stories and how they all somehow connect. It's been a year-and-a-half since I read it but I remember finding Pierre the most relatable--the one that strives the most for internal and spiritual peace.

If anyone is 16 (or younger) and is trying to read W&P, more power to you! It's a worthwhile read that will have you thirsty for more Russian literature. I would suggest reading W&P before reading Anna Karenina, like I did, just because you're really able to see/read Tolstoy's maturity as he progresses as an author.

weltanschauung
10-17-2008, 05:33 PM
it is regarded as one of the best works of literature ever written

ive heard this about so many books (including the lord of the rings which imo is the best one), ive also heard anna karenina was the best one...
its a great book, tolstoy is a master at novels, there are always one gazilion circles and he goes through each of them thoroughly. quite frankly, i could name a dozen or more books that i find much more interesting or well written than war and peace. BUT, reading something is never a waste of time unless its danielle steel or something like that. so, good luck.

MorpheusSandman
10-24-2008, 09:27 PM
Unfortunately his own pet theory is that history is predestined-- at least, that is what I understand from the long didactic passages he indulges in.In general, I agree with much of your counter-argument to Tolstoy's "shaky" position. Yet he does make many good points about how fallible viewing history only when it's past is. It's not that I think he thinks history and/or events are predestined, it's simply that he thinks events move with a indefinite amount of help from an invisible hand that we don't/can't comprehend. The 'invisible hand' I speak of isn't necessarily divine in nature, it's simply a part of human nature that we don't have an intellectual grasp on.

Put another way, I think he's saying that an event happens. Those in the event don't necessarily understands why any of it happened intellectually - this particular theory is expressed all throughout the book, from the big historical events, down to the very personal matters; Pierre's marriage to Helene comes to mind most vividly. Afterwards, when trying to comprehend it, it's easy to concoct answers of why it happened, and its purpose. But none of these answers are ever wholly correct because all tend to presume a position where the outcome was preconceived; X happened because Y person/people wanted it to happen.

Tolstoy, I think, attempts to clearly show that this process of reconstructive and recollective history cannot possibly be accurate. Now, I can agree that his own solutions to the problem are far from definitive. But I think in pointing out the problem he has, at the very least, made a strive in our ability to try and understand it more fully than we have.

mea505
10-25-2008, 06:00 AM
For those who wish to start a study of this book, by first reading it (again, if necessary), please leave a reply. Perhaps we can study this novel and decide for ourselves how well it was written. Perhaps we can discern the different characters appropriately.

Thanks,

Mark

bazarov
10-25-2008, 06:25 AM
Why don't you start new thread if you're interested? Bad experiences? :D

WildCityWoman
10-26-2008, 06:56 PM
Try making a list of the characters and their relationship to each other. Even if there is a list at the front of the copy, make your own and use it as a bookmark. Keep going for a few more chapters then if you really can't get into it, put it to one side for a while, maybe even a few years.

I wouldn't go as far as Mortalterror in suggesting you are too young for the book, but you may have bitten off more than you can chew at the moment - don't think you have failed, there's a right and a wrong time for some books: don't abandon it completely, just put it aside for the moment and come back to it in a few months/years with a bit more reading experience under your belt, then I am sure you will be able to cope with it and count it among the great reading events of your life.

I read this post of yours a few weeks ago, and it inspired me to start my own list - I now have about 560 people on it (even unnamed maids, soldiers, etc.)

Here's the link to the thread I'm keeping at Wild City . . .

http://wildcity.proboards14.com/index.cgi?board=Books&action=display&thread=3127&page=1

WildCityWoman
10-26-2008, 07:05 PM
If you like it, and are enjoying the story, don't give it up . . . even if there's parts you don't really understand or find yourself skimming over, keep going - like somebody says, it eventually boils down to about 10 characters and you'll enjoy following the events as they move along.

Myself? I'm on book 8 (should be further along, but life gets in the way). I just love this story. Once I'm finished with it, I'll get the movies in and start reading other stuff related to it.

There's so much to see; a few versions of the movie. In particular, there's the 2007 TV version - U Tube has a lot of clips from that, as well as the Russian film.

You young ones would particularly like the way some of the people at U Tube have mixed modern day music into the romance scenes.

Check this one out - I'm almost 65, but I'm a sucker for this romantic little thing with Andrei and Natasha right here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0rzQYk-HWQ&feature=related

Etienne
10-26-2008, 07:06 PM
I read this post of yours a few weeks ago, and it inspired me to start my own list - I now have about 560 people on it (even unnamed maids, soldiers, etc.)

Here's the link to the thread I'm keeping at Wild City . . .

http://wildcity.proboards14.com/index.cgi?board=Books&action=display&thread=3127&page=1

:alien: You are mad! :p

WildCityWoman
10-26-2008, 07:19 PM
:alien: You are mad! :p

LOL!

I know . . .

:lol:

Jonathan 1234
11-29-2008, 08:23 PM
I read War and Peace recently for the first time aged 48. I loved every word of it. I would read it while brushing my teeth in the morning. In the introduction to my edition, Tolstoy is quoted to the effect that, if told he could write a book that would prove the correctness of all his ideas about society, relationships, politics and history, he would not waste 20 minutes on it. But if he were told he could write a book that, a generation later, would be read by young people who would laugh and cry and fall in love with the life in it, he would give it his every moment and all his energy. I laughed a bit, I don't think I cried, but I know I fell in love with War and Peace. I think I might have struggled with it too when I was 16. But now you've started, don't stop. Get to the first battle scene and see how you feel then.

nmstu
12-09-2008, 11:00 AM
Wow, what a long string on the subject of "I'm 16 and should I read W&P". It reads sort of like an extended Dear Abby column. I remember when I was 18 I first watched the movie Annie Hall and had no idea what it was all about. Now I'm 42 and I've probably watched it 20+ times and think it has more to say about relationships (to me, at least) than any movie I've ever seen. If you are 16 (though perhaps 17 now) and begin to read W&P, then that is the correct choice for you. You will most likely go back to it later in life and view it in a different way. Reading Garp (John Irving) when I was 16 was different than the last time I read it in my 30s, but it was great both times!

LennieMelvin
12-27-2008, 06:45 PM
I'm about half way through War and Peace, and despite being extremely apprehensive about starting such a novel, I have been deeply surprised at just how much I have enjoyed reading it!
I had many people telling me I was too young (I am 14) and therefore not experienced enough to read War and Peace, and I must admit I found some of the novel hard-going but overall it has become one of my favourites.
I would recommend anyone to read it, however young or old.

omahhum
02-12-2009, 02:06 AM
I've read War and Peace three or four times and enjoy it each time. I think I was in my late teens or early 20s the first time. I was probably a little more used to reading long 19th Century novels than you, but if you are drawn to it, why not?

It might be a little easier to read in book form than online. The better translations usually have a list of the characters in the front of the book, as well as some footnotes that explain a little more clearly what's going on.

The Count Tolstoy (Osterman-Tolstoy) in the book was the author's uncle, so he had some great inside information. But his views on history can get a little tedious. I remember that I skipped some of Tolstoy's personal comments on the theory of history the first couple of times I read the book.

As a society, we've gotten out of the habit of leisurely reading. A book like this is meant to be savored over time. In the 19th Century, it even would have been read aloud in the evening to a group--19th Century TV! It has some really wonderful moments, and the characters are so well drawn, with their complex psychologies. I get more out of it each time I read it. But if you just can't get through it, don't worry. Maybe try other Russian writers or some of Tolstoy's shorter works. I believe the first "Russian" I read was "The Idiot," by Dostoyevsky.

TomWolfe321
05-13-2009, 08:36 PM
Well, to the people saying 16 is too young, I strongly disagree.

I'm 16 and I just devoured this book in a month and understood it perfectly. The only taxing part was the 2nd epilogue :(


Age makes no difference...intelligence and reading do though.


EDIT: and wow, MortalTerror. All 16-year-olds only know of malls and video games? Have you experienced the destruction of your home and uprooting of your way of life like the characters in WaP? No? Then you're no more qualified to understand the book than I am.

what was he in?
05-26-2009, 11:01 AM
Well, to the people saying 16 is too young, I strongly disagree.

I'm 16 and I just devoured this book in a month and understood it perfectly. The only taxing part was the 2nd epilogue :(


Age makes no difference...intelligence and reading do though.


EDIT: and wow, MortalTerror. All 16-year-olds only know of malls and video games? Have you experienced the destruction of your home and uprooting of your way of life like the characters in WaP? No? Then you're no more qualified to understand the book than I am.

You're taking it too literary.

The genius of War and Peace is that it can be understood on every level possible. At 16, War and Peace is a very different story to what it is at 25. And, I expect (I'm not there yet), it will be very different to this at 40. And so on.

The most intelligent 16 year old ever, even one who may have been through the hell of living in a war-torn third-world country simply hasn't got some of the experiences - in the case I'm thinking of, the changes that come from within - that will illuminate the characters in War and Peace, give them even more depth and shade and colour than you thought possible. The changes that you go through don't come from your intelligence, but are acquired as you age, as your body and soul becomes bruised and hardened, as your ego is squashed into nothing and your perceptions of the world are shattered into a million peices and you pick them up and put them back together again, but it's never the same.

I read a lot of Dostoevsky when I was 16. I enjoyed the stories. I'm going back to them now, 10 years later, and I'm finally starting to understand what they're about. But I know that I'll have to go back to them again and again and again as the years pass before I truly get them.

Remember: Tolstoy wrote War and Peace as a culmination of his life experience. To claim that you can grasp what he was saying at 16 is an insult to the man!

cidkid
08-01-2009, 06:23 AM
I think your problem lies completely in the first dozen-or-so words of your post.
Tolstoy's world, in my experience, lends to make itself more full through seeming to come by as a blur at first, then your mind catches up with it's rate and it starts to make more sense than your own world, there's enough detail and repitition that you don't need to firmly remember every single maid or military man in order to clearly understand the story and it's various subtexts, the reason I believe you're having trouble is that you've only read 150 pages in a week. I've only read what I've just learned is a shorter version, 900 pages, but I just finished it yesterday after four days of reading. Undertaking something like War & Peace, I don't believe for a second that you necessarily need to be older, but I do think you should put aside more time, and you'll understand it better when you get more engrossed in it. That might just be me, but I simply couldn't read a book like this for a half an hour a night and expect myself to retain much. Like I said, might just be me, this rule probably doesn't apply to everybody.

cidkid
08-01-2009, 06:29 AM
What was he in - the last line of your post completely contradicts the rest of it; if you're going to need to re-read it over every ten years to understand it better each time, then you and I have both insulted him to nearly the same degree as you claim the sixteen year olds have, we're reading it well before the age of the man who wrote it at the time that he wrote it. It's a ridiculous idea, especially coupled with the rest of the post. Artists are all libertanians of sorts, and I don't believe that any artists, whether literary or otherwise, classical or modern, would feel insulted by anybody appreciating their art. What a load of bullshizen.

bazarov
09-11-2009, 03:27 PM
I read a lot of Dostoevsky when I was 16. I enjoyed the stories. I'm going back to them now, 10 years later, and I'm finally starting to understand what they're about. But I know that I'll have to go back to them again and again and again as the years pass before I truly get them.

Remember: Tolstoy wrote War and Peace as a culmination of his life experience. To claim that you can grasp what he was saying at 16 is an insult to the man!

Agree. I've read it when I was 19 and again 3 years later and it's quite different. Better, of course.

Gurov
04-22-2010, 03:58 PM
I'm glad to hear that people in the USA like [email protected] I am Russian (and I live in Moscow all my life), my "first" [email protected] was at the age of 15, and this book, at once seemed fantastic to me, just marvelous, wonderful... After that I have read it 20 or 30 times (yes!) in Russian, once in English (Maude's translation), once in French. Evidently, it's more diificult for foreigners to read [email protected]: there are very many details of Russian life and history, which are poorly known abroad. Also, it is a pity that those who read [email protected] in translations cannot savour managements of Russian speech in the novel. Last remark: I don't agree with those who are not happy with the 2nd part of the Epilogue. I think that this is a deep, objective and adequate description of the causes of historic events, of the role of "great" people on one hand, and of the ordinary people on the other hand. That's why so-called "professionals" (historians, philosofers, politicians) usually hate the 2nd part of the Tolstoy's epilogue.

cara_23
01-10-2011, 05:50 PM
hey guys! I have just begun reading War and Peace after several years of putting the book off! Does anyone have any good tips on how to sucesfully read it? :)

thatcrazyguy
03-02-2011, 03:46 AM
I read War and Peice when I was 15 going on 16, and it was a truely extraodinary book. Never have I seen cahracters develop so fluidly beforem y very eyes. Tolstoy took us on a ride through the lives of so many people, we saw them change moment by moment, sentence by sentence and most people I think don't notice that.
The characters where real, they where human.

Paulclem
04-06-2011, 05:27 PM
I read War and Peice when I was 15 going on 16, and it was a truely extraodinary book. Never have I seen cahracters develop so fluidly beforem y very eyes. Tolstoy took us on a ride through the lives of so many people, we saw them change moment by moment, sentence by sentence and most people I think don't notice that.
The characters where real, they where human.

I got the impression that they expressed aspects of Tolstoy's character and ides. Rostov i similar to the soldier Tolstoy. He retires from the army and throws himself into the estate and farming, He displays a respect for peasants and working the land. He also incurred gambling debts as Tolstoy did.

Pierre is a man who has come through fire. I thought that he represented the social aspect of Tolstoy - awkward in society, but sincere in his ideas and motivations.

I also felt that the female characters were vehicles Tolstoy's ideas. I did think the characterisation was good.

Truthlover
11-22-2011, 10:53 PM
For me, W&P is a book that should be required reading for all young adults. It instructs us on what life is about. For example, what happens to Natasha: she is seduced by Anatole. She was the last person in the world who could have realized what Anatole was doing and what type person he really is: a sociopath. We also get to travel within Pierre's mind. And the minds of several other characters. We do not need to have experience before reading the book. The book itself is the experience that, once read, will help us live our lives with greater freedom.