War and Peace: 2019


I don’t think he’s really shown what he has to offer in the old writing game yet. The metaphor that @Scagden mentioned was about the only part of his writing that stuck with me in the first three chapters.

So far it’s read in quite a gossipy tone. “Prince A was chatting to Prince B but Pavvers wasn’t happy so she moved them and then Prince C said hello to the Aunt but no-one liked her so she was on her own and then they went and sat on a sofa with a very pretty girl and everyone was very fashionably dressed and then…”


yeahhhhh it’s clumsy. I think it was intended as a clever sort of oh hello reader, you’ve just become privy to POLITICS. but it decked it


Chapter 9 is where it all kicks off properly for me. Reading it now and it’s proper edge of your seat stuff.


mm. i think what’s interesting is that he’s working in facial ticks, vocal inflections and various machinations around the party to kind of build this sense of enormous courtly etiquette. the overall takeaway from the first 3 chapters is one that deliberately sets up Pierre blundering in, and that feels deliberate, and that’s great. He sticks out like a sore thumb and it’s because the adjectives, the descriptors, are so vastly removed from the mechanical concept of everyone around him otherwise (save Andrew)


This is Good Observation.

It’s entirely possible that my socialist “to the guillotine!” tendencies is clouding my judgement. In the past when reading pre-20th century stuff it’s taken me a fair while to stop being annoyed by courtly antics and protocol and settle into the pace and tone of the writing, and understand the characters within their historical setting.


i could do seven chapters a week rather than one a day i think


yesterday’s is five minutes

get back in, you prick


…and yet Pavlovna is apparently entirely cool with a witty anecdote about both Napoleon & some rival both shagging the same actress & then Napoleon having him put to death.

This is fine party fodder!


I’m quite surprised by how funny it is so far. Reinforces my notion that the novel is an inherently comic medium (whereas drama is tragic and poetry is epic / lyrical).


Of course, you have to read it in Tolstoy’s tongue.


Tongues can’t read you silly.


gotta be honest, hasn’t got a laugh out of me yet. not done chapter 3 yet though… so maybe that’s where the banter starts


I’m not saying it’s laugh out loud, but the imagery of leaving her guests with her aged aunt then fucking off, and Pierre’s responses to stuff were just more deliberately comic than I’d been expecting.


I don’t recognise him but you’re right, he played Pierre in the BBC version it seems.


I’ll be honest, @scagden’s comedy posts and you guys discussing is currently far more interesting to me than the book.

3 chapters down and it’s just a succession of almost identical Tories with impossible to recall names, being tedious at a dinner party in the ways only Tories can. As I stated after chapter 1, the only silver lining for me is knowing they and their kind will all be worm food in less than 100 years.

Still, the writing is brisk and punchy, no huge lingering descriptions, thesaurus-challenging vocab etc. and I appreciate that.


:smiley: :smiley:


Chapter 4 is really good


Mate you wait till they start tying policemen to bears yes genuinely, this is a thing that happens. It’s not all dinner parties.

Also re the bunch of tories thing… I think that one of the great things about literature is that it lets you see the humanity in people from all different walks of life whether that’s subsistence level itinerant workers in steinbeck or Danish royalty in Shakespeare. The characters in war and peace fall in love, agonise over their lives and, despite their social class, are just like real people.


Elderly aunts! Men swooning over a lady with a moustache! Sewing! Those 19th century Russian’s knew how to party


Oh right it’s finally Friday over there? Guess I can get reading :grin: