Tuesday, October 1, 2013
War and Peace, Volume III, Part Three
I feel like this section touched on a lot of things though it basically falls under two categories: Tolstoy's musings on history and our interpretation of it and the Russians evacuating Moscow in the wake of the French invasion. There is no real battle waged but the French do end the section in possession of the city. The former is pretty dull and just feels to me like Tolstoy is lecturing his captive audience when what we really want to know is if Natasha and Pierre are going to get together (or is that just me? I know I could read about it online but I'm trying to wait and read through the book like a good girl. Needless to say her reunion with former fiance Prince Andrei was not something I cheered.)
We check in with most of our characters (though sadly no Princess Marya) as they are impacted by the war but just for brief stretches. I was surprised by how much the section skipped around and was glad to see loads of female characters even if they don't have much characterization.
Someone who I can now envision clearly is Pierre's estranged wife Helene who has this excellent description: "Helene, on the contrary, like a truly great person who can do whatever she likes, at once placed herself in the position of being right, in which she sincerely believed, and all the others in the position of being wrong" (Trans. Pevear and Volokhonsky, 833). I've seen these kinds of people and have at times envied them their self-confidence and assurance.
This part ends on a weird note: Pierre had thought he might assassinate Napoleon (!) and ends up under arrest after interfering with some French looters. I'm really curious as to what is going to happen there as this whole decision on Pierre's part was baffling to me.
I hope everyone else is caught up on the reading-looking forward to the finish line :D