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Andy, you've summed up brilliantly exactly why I, and probably countless other people as well, stopped reading about a third of the way through. To encourage you, however, there is some good bloody warfare, and an infamous military leader makes a surprise appearance after the first major war sequence. Don't know if it really justifies the reading, but definitely helps.

Tell us if it gets good. Maybe I'll pull it back off the shelf and dust it off.

Just found out recently that this was C.S. Lewis' favorite book. Don't know why, but that really surprised me. Then again, reiterating what you said about meek women in the book, Andy, Lewis was a bit of a male chauvinist in his early years before Joy Davidson.

First, the names. There are more than 500 characters in War and Peace, most of them bearing names like Anya Dmitriovronsky Putinsvetlanaskayaverarovich (who should not be confused with Anya Dmitriovronsky Rasputinsputnikskaya) and, well, the head hurts within a remarkably short period of time.


This was really confusing, because in one chapter, A.D. the first would die of typhoid or something, and then the next chapter would have A.D. walking and talking in perfect health, and it wouldn't be until the end of the chapter that I'd realize that they were two different A.D.'s, which of course, would prompt me to star the chapter over again, to avoid confusion.

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Who is the publisher and translator(s) Andy? Here is an NPR article on a war over War and Peace.

I don't know. I'll have to check later. It's been sitting on a bookshelf gathering dust for the better part of 20 years, so it's certainly not either of the two new translations mentioned in that NPR article. I do know that my version is unabridged. It's a thousand pages of tiny print, and therefore includes Tolstoy's historical and philosophical essays that he added after the initial draft.

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I had to quit halfway through Anna Karenina, and I haven't cracked War & Peace. Maybe I'll give him another try someday, like in my late 40's. Tolstoy is the only person in the history of the planet Earth (outside of France) to have rejected Shakespeare. He believed that a conspiracy of 18th-century German critics was responsible for Shakespeare's status. Orwell wrote a couple essays about Tolstoy on Shakespeare, and they're really interesting.

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  • 5 years later...

I've been meaning to check out Anna Karenina on audio for some time, but the size of it intimidates me and I end up putting it back on the shelf.


Today, while investigating Nook's Free Friday selections, I found War and Peace. I downloaded it. It's something like 1,500 or 1,700 pages. Fun! Translation by Maude. I have no idea what its reputation is, but that price is hard to beat.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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