Thursday, 1 September 2011

War and Peace: Book Ten

This post is full of spoilers.

Disorder and pettiness in the Russian army causes Napoleon to advance further into the country.

Old Bolkonski is even more upset with Princess Mary, and now even Mademoiselle Bourienne. Prince Andrew writes a letter asking them to go to Moscow as the war is coming too close to home. Old Bolkonski and Mary go to Prince Andrew’s estate in Bogucharovo, where the old man dies. The peasants are some sort of crazy and won’t allow Mary to leave after her father’s death. Nicholas Rostov rides into the village and saves her. She falls in love with him. He considers marrying her, but then remembers his promise to Sonya and becomes angry at his predicament.

Everybody is leaving Moscow and the inhabitants are refusing to speak French and abuse those who do.

Napoleon loses the battle of Borodino (in Tolstoy’s eyes, who also argues that he had nothing to do with the battle on August 26th (7th September) since none of his orders were actually carried out (p 691-2)).

Pierre rides straight out to the battlefield, angering and annoying the soldiers since he has no idea what he’s doing.

Prince Andrew is wounded and Anatole gets one of his legs amputated.

The battle is over and Russia has lost half of its army.

That marks the end of volume two, spanning from 1808 – 1812.

I am falling back into this tome now. The last ‘book’ got on my nerves due to all the opinions that I didn’t care about, but since this one focused more on the way the war was fought, it pleased me greatly. Although it’s quite evident what Tolstoy thought of Napoleon, it’s not drawing too much from the actual plot. It feels like there is, on the one hand the story with all the characters that I’ve been following, and on the other hand this history lesson – extremely biased, of course. As long as the two are kept apart, I’m good. But it’s when he starts mixing them that I lose my patience. I mean, going from Napoleon talking about his military strategy to the soldiers laughing at a dog.

No.

Other than that, I’m really looking forward to reading more about the war – and to see if Tolstoy is going to kill off anybody.

I have read 67% - and yes, I’m still calculating.

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