13 November 11

A Dab of Tolstoy

I just finished reading War and Peace for the first time. It’s a delicious book — not a slog at all, though I started it well over six weeks ago. There’s something very evenhanded about Tolstoy’s writing, how he’s able to move seamlessly from historical narrative to the lives of his characters. The historical narrative is what got me inspired to read the novel: I had just finished reading David Chandler’s definitive one-volume history The Campaigns of Napoleon and thought that War and Peace, the quintessential novel about the Napoleonic era, was the perfect follow-on. That the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation was on our bookshelves helped matters. As for why I read the Chandler, this was a result of our calligraphy workshop this summer. Our teacher Sheila Waters designed and calligraphed the maps for the Chandler book back in 1965, and I was able to see many of the mylar originals!

The next work of fiction I’m going to read shouldn’t take me as long: Terry Pratchett’s new book Snuff.

Posted by at 09:37 PM in Books and Language | Link |
  1. Yes, it’s a wonderful book! I’ve read it every five years or so, since I was a teenager: it’s a touchstone book, for me.

    Dale Favier    14. November 2011, 09:14    Link

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