War and Peace--Updated Impressions
by, 03-21-2012 at 01:55 AM (394 Views)
I have currently --to my great surprise --completed the first eight books of War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. I have come very late in life reading him and the experience is pleasant.
Now this has to be carefully said. I like Tolstoy but I am underwhelmed by him.
Years of reading Rafael Sabatini have forever conditioned me to what I expect in an historical novel. Bold dashing characters having adventures where honor and chivary and bravery accomplish much. Add to that C. S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower series, Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe series and (to my shame)--a nearly forgotten collection of Kenneth Roberts paperbacks from 40 years ago and yes I'm thinking about a book find on those and Tolstoy pales in the entertainment area.
To be frank all the time I'm reading about Andrew, Nickolas, Pierre, Natasha, Sonya and Mary I'm thinking how silly these people are. I swear it's almost like reading a Harlequin romance without the mmm factor. I have seen high schoolers with more maturity. But only a bit more.
Let's see what irritates me about them all except Sonya--Mary fell from grace a few chapters ago.
Andrew--can't seem to make up his mind what he wants. He's more like his father then he would wish to be. When Natasha breaks off the engagement does he even try to reclaim his lost love. Nope--way too proud. From the favorite male character around Book 2 he has lost some of his luster.
Nicolas--the new favorite male. He too tends to mood swing from one extreme to another. Gets in over his head time and again. Likes and dislikes people at the drop of a thin smile or a cold shoulder. Takes Sonya for granted and doesn't even realize it I think. His solutions to problems never really get to the core of the manner and just postpones the inevitable as things keep spiralling away from him as he really doesn't like responsibility. The Rostovs parents spend their lives living beyond their means and still get little respect from society.
Mary--a saint but with a flaw. She did not like Natasha as a choice for brother Andrew to marry and does little to amend her attitude--surprising in one with a firm Christian faith of love and patience in suffering the abuse of that horrible father of her's. She probably never will but would serve her father right to leave him crying in his winecup--he is a pathetic tyrant who needs a good comeupance.
Natasha--drama queen, spoiled child, her way or no way. A flash here and there of character but quick to turn on you when things do not go her way.
Sonya--my new favorite--loyal, kind and tender and long suffering and very very modest; demanding almost nothing from anyone not even the man she loves and who loves her--however flawed that is.
Enjoying the book--be assured of that but again wondering what all the fuss is about. I got more involved wiht Gone With the Wind and THAT readng was well over 40 years ago and I still remember key scenes from that.
Finally -last observation--Tolstoy is frustrating in his choice of what scenes to show on and off screen. Or which to go into detail about and which to gloss over. When he does a character scene where real emotions are fiery and hot he is wonderful (and insightful) just not enough.
Just saying--will report back in after a few more chapters under the belt. I am much further along then I expected to be. It is a page turner. But fear if I stop I'll never finish.