Full House Reading Challenge _ War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy

Genre: Classic, Russian Fiction, War

Narrative Style: Third person

Rating: 3/5

Published: 1869,

Format: Paperback

Synopsis: An epic tale of politics and private lives set during the Napoleonic Wars, War and Peace attempts to tell the history of Russia through looking at the progress of a group of citizens. The different perspectives and fortunes of the many characters are closely affected by the war. Balls and soirees are described in detail as well as councils of war and battles. 

Reading Challenges: Full House Reading Challenge – more than 500 pages.

Well, that was a long haul. I can’t remember the last time it took me quite so long to read a book. I always knew that it was going to take some time but five months is a lot of reading time. It wasn’t just the length either. There were times when I felt that I didn’t want to carry on reading and I would leave it lying for days before I made myself pick it up again.

There were a number of reasons for this. I always struggle a bit with classics. It is not my favourite genre and it is a question of making myself read them because I feel I should. At times, I felt bogged down in Tolstoy’s philisophical ideas about history and free will. Not to mention the incredibly detailed battles.

I enjoyed the drawing room and ball room scenes much more and was interested in the fates of the main characters – particularly Pierre and Natasha, both of whom were very well drawn and convincing. But there were far too many small characters that were absolutely impossible to keep track of. I felt as though I ought to be taking a note of everybody just in case I should meet them again.

It was a relief to be finished it. Especially as the second epilogue is purely Tolstoy’s thoughts on man’s free will which seemed to go round in circles and I’m sure could have been considerably shorter. Overall, I’m glad to have read it though I’m not sure I’d wholeheartedly reccommend it to anyone else.

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