War and Peace: 2019


Yeah no worries, not going to mention anything about Pierre inventing the submarine and using it to single handedly capture napoleon and thus end the war, till you guys get to that bit.


weird when it goes into full verse



Not to mention the bit when Pierre goes deep into the dark-web and uncovers the truth behind the Tsar’s everlasting youth.


Always thought the Pynchon translation was underrated myself.


One genuine spoiler for chapter twenty… the violinist’s name is Semen


You mean, don’t diss-pierre!


Yeah, I enjoyed the argument between the Viscount and Pierre where the Viscount scoffs at Pierre’s notion that Napoleon and the French Revolution promoted liberty and equality.

The viscount of course only applying such liberty and equality principles to the benefit of his own social class, so missing the point and explaining the subsequent inability to contain revolution #checkyourprivilege


That’s why I’m happy with a manageable chapter a day - I managed to read todays while doing the early morning feed. As I learned last time, it’s easy to hit burnout after the initial wave of enthusiasm without proper pacing.


(and @woweezowee)
The thing is it’s not a normal book club. If people want to read War and Peace then I’d hope they’ve already done so or at least are going at a good pace. But the entire concept of this was to point out that if you never thought you’d read this book you can do so in this particular manner.

I’m already reading a book via a weekly podcast and discussing it - about 5 chapters a time - and I can tell you there isn’t really much you can say about a book at this early point. You will get funny comments, you will get people not really loving it the same way.

I’m sorry if my glib posts get you down but tough, frankly.

I’m also sorry that everyone seems to assume that I have no concept of what the aristocracy is or something. Yes I do actually understand these people are human beings with feelings, @scagden. The point is that it’s harder to care too much about trials and tribulations of being really rich than of someone who’s struggling to get by [I think Sara Peretsky’s VI Washawski usually gets at least one moment per book to state that the problems of the very rich are not the problems of you and I]. And obviously this is why the book is written in a very sly and tongue-in-cheek style to my mind, and in fact why I am so whimsical in my assessment of it.


you know what you’d fucking LOVE if you’re into all this kinda stuff?

Get hold of Kaputt by Curzio Malaparte. Depressing/incredible


Not ‘tough, frankly’ bud. How is the ‘it’s just boring aristo stuff’ any different to people going hard on the ‘haha nerds’ angle in the Marvel threads?

And in terms of what everyone assumes: everyone knows you’re bright as hell. Which means you definitely have more insight to give than ‘hahaha tories torying DiS eh tories!’

So why bother glibbing it up. There have been some good funny comments already. The tired DiS ‘everything in history is Tory’ schtick isn’t that.


Just for you @xylo here is my more in depth thoughts on the first 4 chapters.

We open with Anna Pavlovna, an unsympathetic character who appears to believe herself far better on social wiles than anyone she has invited to her party.

She horribly insults her first guest, a Prince, and gets him to admit he hates his sons. They hatch a plan to ruin the life of another young princess by forcing her to marry his worst son. [Yes of course, this could well be merely a factor of point of view and said son may be great while it’s his father who’s the problem - but we can’t speculate beyond what we’re given.]

As the party hots up Pavlovna does little to endear her to us readers as she forces her guests to talk to an ageing relative as some kind of weird practical joke-cum-powerplay when they arrive.

Pierre appears, who seems to be a bit of a head-in-the-clouds guy who has massive social issues. Can’t really tell right now if he’s amazing or not. Maybe we’ll come to love him and it seems likely we will because Pavlovna pities him and we have a low opinion of her due to her ego issues.

There is a strange moment where we get an anecdote about Boneparte. [It is unclear to me if my book is using Buonaparte and Bonaparte to both refer to Napoleon or they are two different characters. For now I assume the former since this isn’t a Penguin classic Kindle edition and I’ve already spotted a word beginning ‘d’ that actually begins ‘cl’] It’s pretty weird but typical of this sort of period piece, the leap of decision from aristocracy who, going off other books but no actual historical knowledge TBF, seem to follow codes although not always the same ones.

Meanwhile Pierre is about to have a similar discussion but Anna shuts him down. Not sure why but I presumed it’s because she considers him too simple/unpredictable to understand the social requirements of diplomacy and when to speak and when not to speak.

Finally in chapter 4 we get a bit of fun to-ing and fro-ing as the Prince from Chapter 1 (I had to read back to check this as there have been so many names at this point spread over 4 days of tiny reading moments I wasn’t sure who was who) reenters the story and gets buttonholed by an ageing dowager type who browbeats him into giving her son a good job. She wants even more but he is able to refuse that promise. Probably this will come back to haunt him. I imagine some side plot involving this woman badgering him, a bit like something out of Local Hero (if you’ve not seen that film you can ignore this).


I’m not down on the style of your posting in here @1101010 - I just got the sense that you were struggling with something of a mental block around the aristocratic nature of the characters though.

I hoped that I could encourage you to stick with it if you were wavering as it’s all laying the groundwork for what’s to come. If you look back at the family tree I posted earlier, we’ve been introduced to most of the main characters by Chapter 4. All the five key families except for the Rostovs, and most currently living members are either at the party or are discussed there.

Agree with @xylo that I also find tory one of the more tedious tropes on DiS though, but we’ve already done that discussion to death, so not trying to re-open anything there :wink:


see i fucking love this! this is great!


Visit my scintillating Jacobite thread for some top Whig chat.


Eh? I dunno, I wasn’t trying to be particularly tropey about it I was just highlighting a disconnect from the aristocrats presented.

I actually (again from that other book club thing I do online) really hate to draw on resources not in the text. I have deliberately not really read too deeply on the stuff where you or others have provided background because I believe you should really be able to enjoy the piece separate from any help from those who’ve gone through it. So, yeah, I am not reading the family tree. We’ll see what comes through (or not). :slight_smile:

(Obviously footnotes that explain meanings of stuff you couldn’t possibly understand are different.)


yeah wasn’t sure about this because later it suggests that she’s got less influence than she did, so why fuck with the one person who still gives a shit?


Based on these four chapters I can only conclude it’s her massive egotism. She seems to think she IS the dog’s danglies and can get away with these things. Hard to judge if she is being indulged massively, knows her shit, or will end up hanged/in jail or whatever.*

*Actually Crime & Punishment seems to imply that in this period in Russia there wasn’t the death penalty for murder even so maybe you just get put in jail for a bit if you’re being an arsehole to your betters?


Theo going pure prac crit on us, fucking love it, 2019 is wild


Thanks man, I’ll look into it. A young family has torpedoed my reading habits and so I’ve finished significantly fewer books in the last few years, and haven’t started main heavy/big projects either!.