War and Peace: 2019


Take it from your old friend Prince Maksym “Max” Bargainikov, also known as Sergei to my friends, if you’re not familiar with the conventions of the language then reading a few hundred pages of dense historical Russian literature without a list of the main characters to hand for reference is a mug’s game: https://www.janetfitchwrites.com/janets-blog/2017/12/10/oh-those-names-or-how-to-read-a-russian-novel


Chapter 5 is badly formatted so it’s almost entirely one paragraph. Not great with so much dialogue. But I think I managed.

Things I learned

Prince Andrew is not also Prince Vasili. I had to reread Chapter 4 to spot where the swap over moment was that confused me.

The Viscomte is actually French, not just styling his viscount title in the French way, it seems.

Pierre is a fan of revolutionaries overthrowing the aristocracy. I guess he himself must be the aristocracy but then that isn’t necessarily a surprising thing.

The more I read the more this is seeming like a Wodehouse novel except presumably that will end when we move into the later parts.


The book infamously gets pretty meta later - this whole lead up is pretty linear in its execution and sets up the people you need to know, and there’ll be a point where shit gets big


Is the Little Princess the one called Bolkonskaya? If so who is she again? The one Vasili’s awful son will marry?


No she’s the preggers one who Andrew is married to/seemingly loathes. It’s confusing because everyone talks about her like she’s single but she’s not.


If I was rereading this, I wouldn’t be referring to the footnotes. I’d be chatting to xylo


i’m benefitting from having roped the entire bookshop into doing this to which is handy as a hivemind of fielding any confusions


Like a niche call center live chat for War And Peace readers


I have no footnotes anyway :grin:


Hat fell off!


Pierre is a GBOL


Chapter 6

This book is way more bants than I’d have ever expected. Pierre :+1:


I’m more WTH about Prince Andrew seemingly happy for his wife (whom Tolstoy seems determined to drive home the moustache thing about) to flirt outrageously with random other guys while preggers.

Pierre seems very much the guy in the story we can relate to though. Privileged yet aware and rejecting of it.


Looked up the bbc adaptation so I can visualise who everyone looks like (Gillian Anderson is Anna!) and saw this bit of trivia:

Co-producer Harvey Weinstein considers Leo Tolstoy’s classic as his favorite novel.



:unamused: Probably has the same worldview as Prince Andrey circa chapter 6:

Selfish, vain, stupid, totally vacuous – that’s what women are when they show themselves in their true colours.

The prick.


Chapter 6 - only just realised that Pierre isn’t full posh wanker after he comes out and says he’s a bastard in this chapter. Age-old storytelling technique to help you empathise with the lead there.

Second half of the chapter is the 19th C Russian equivalent of a Bullingdon club night out isn’t it. Night out with the lads in St Bantersburg!

Starting to click with the style and pace now though.


Oh weird, that wasn’t in my chapter 6? It was just them leaving the party


Ah yeah, same! I meant with all the drinking, smashing the window, taunting an animal and that guy betting he could drink a whole bottle of rum without falling off the roof.

They’re just headed out now. I assume to smash up some poors or something.


It said he was illegitimate when he was first introduced, no? Or am I mixing up my Wiki check-ins with what was actually in the book?


It might well have done and I just missed it whilst all the princes were being introduced.