War and Peace
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War and Peace
Leo Tolstoy
Literature
Aug 27, 2018
A monument of world literature and a reader’s rite of passage, War and Peace is among the longest works of fiction ever written. Its thirteen hundred pages blend private emotions and public events, love affairs and military campaigns, personality and history into a narrative that—as Tolstoy himself struggled to explain—is strictly speaking neither novel, nor epic, nor historical chronicle, nor philosophical inquiry; rather, it inherits characteristics of all four to embody an expressive life entirely its own. A large part of the grandeur of War and Peace derives from two innovations. Not only does Tolstoy mix fictional characters with real-life figures drawn from scrupulous historical research, but he also shifts back and forth between bird’s-eye-view narration of enormous events—military battles, lavish parties—and interior monologues of penetrating psychological awareness. War and Peace is such a huge and extraordinary achievement that it is surprising to realize that it is the work of a young author. When it was first serialized in a Russian magazine (under the working title “The Year 1805”), Tolstoy was only in his late thirties. He completed the work at age forty-one. For all Tolstoy’s later accomplishments, nothing he would write—not even the majestic Anna Karenina—compares to War and Peace. What’s true of its form is true of the reading experience it creates: You live this book as much as you read it, and to recapture the engrossing sensation, you can only read it again.
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Mar 25, 2019
My #1
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Mar 30, 2019
It is everything a novel should be and more. It is a participation in history. I found helpful though to use a family tree to track people.
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Nov 16, 2019
It has a very wide scope
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May 23, 2020
I used to own a two-volume edition of this book. My dog (boxer) chewed up one of the books (right off the book shelf! so fresh!). My husband joked, "Did he eat War, or did he eat Peace?"
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