Friday, April 8, 2011

War and Peace

Has anyone out there read this book?
The BIG Borders Bookstore was going bust and we just 'happened' to be there when it did.
The timing was ripe...

It was time to add another much considered Classic and have it grace the clutter of some shelf in the family library.
But I am waiting till summer to work up the courage to start that journey...
And Journey is an understatement for a volume like this - 1400 pages of fine print!  WHAT was I thinking?
Only two other books in the library rival this heavyweight in content and page number:  
The Annals of the World and Dictionary of the Christian Church.
Yes.  This is what sets me quaking. 
The gist of it...
At a lavish party in St. Petersburg in 1805, amid the glittering crystal and chandeliers, the room buzzes with talk of the prospect of war.  Soon battle and terror will engulf the country, and the destinies of its people will be changed forever.  War and Peace has as its backdrop Napoleon's invasion of Russia and at its heart three of literature's most memorable characters:  Pierre Bezukhov, a quixotic young man in search of life's meaning;  Prince Andrey Bolkonsky, a cynical intellectual transformed by suffering in war;  and the bewitching Natasha Rostov, whose impulsiveness threatens to destroy her happiness.  As they seek fulfillment, fall in love, make mistakes, and become scarred by conflict in different ways, these characters and their stories interweave with those of a huge cast, from aristocrats to peasants, from soldiers to Napoleon himself.  Battles, love affairs, births, deaths, changing family fortunes, unforgettable scenes of wolf hunts, Russian dancing, starlit troika rides, the great comet of 1812 -- the entire spectrum of human life is here in all its grandeur and imperfection.
In his magnificent new translation, Anthony Briggs renders Tolstoy's masterwork in stirring prose both faithful to the original Russian and exquisitely accessible.  New readers and rereaders alike will discover not just an exciting story but also a deeply rewarding meditation on the tension between free will and fate as the forces of history move inexorably forward.  Epic and intimate, compassionate and engrossing, this is the must-read War and Peace.

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