i finished war and peace by Leo Tolstoy today … and it has been a beautiful ride.
once you get the Russian names straight.
i started by making the decision to read the classics in order to improve my vocabulary and writing in general, and war and peace seemed the most intimidating title I could think of at the time. I didn’t even know how long it really was (very long), or if Charlie Brown’s agonies over it were accurate at all.
best decision ever.
imagine your own personal gossip magazine combined with a thrilling portrayal of Napoleonic history and intertwining journeys through death, sorrow, betrayal, love and sacrifice to life?
in war and peace you see a mirror of our times; problems facing the upper society of Russia plague our own culture today. you see the emptiness that these people experience in their lives and their journeys to understanding what their purpose really is.
you get a glimpse of the complexity of war and the era of emperors and princesses and dukes.
you get a firsthand taste of some of the best realist writing in the world – for Tolstoy is dubbed by many as the greatest realist author to ever ink words.
you feel the struggles – the pain – the happiness – of Tolstoy’s characters and you realize the power that a novelist wields in the simple action of his pen.
one quote from a Tolstoy-fan that really hooked me when I first began the novel was this: “War and Peace is a dictionary of life, where one may look up any passion, any ambition, and find its meaning” (William Lyon Phelps). and i completely agree.
there are actual books written on why you should read war and peace. people have said that they wish they could relive their lives just so that they could have the pleasure of reading it again for the first time.
and a disclaimer – war and peace is not ‘hard’ to read. the writing style is very clear and simple, with an abundance of everyday examples that make you wonder how Tolstoy manages to relate so hard.
and while I feel that I don’t yet have the capacity to truly understand its genius and expertise, I’m glad that I’ve climbed to the summit of literature and planted my flag at the top. i’m a little sad, too, because the ongoing comfort of having these people’s lives to pick up and immerse yourself in whenever you wish is gone. a bit of ennui, perhaps. and also that there is no higher goal – war and peace is globally proclaimed the greatest novel of all time.
but I would say that anyone and everyone can benefit from it. I’ve emerged with a new interest in Russian literature and culture. and the knowledge that I can read through 587,287 words without giving up.
i’ve never written a book review before. but i thought war and peace deserved some recognition.
thanks for reading ❤