Monday, August 6, 2012

War and Peace

Title: War and Peace
Author: Leo Tolstoy
Publ: Wordsworth Editions ltd. (1993)
ISBN: 1 85326 062 2

War and Peace. Not my kind of book. It is an epic size historical novel. It is about Napolean's invasion of Russia. Perhaps I have a basic dislike towards historic novels. As it is a novel, there are numerous fictional characters and the story of their relationships and family affairs. And since it is an account of an episode from history as well, there are real historic characters such as Napolean and Tsar and historic events and dates and stuff. Alas, I missed the novel for the history, and the history for the novel. Perhaps that's why I dislike historical fiction. Apart from the history and fiction, there is scattered here and there real non-fictional philosophy of Tolstoy on war, history, humanity and the world. I guess this is the part I liked more than the history and fiction. But this too needs a bit of trimming as it is extensively repetitive and lengthy in places and even dull at times.

As it is a novel, the narrative of war and related events from history looked kind of out of place. And since it is a report on history, the fictional part didn't look like a fully blown novel.

However, the author's sharp insight into human nature and characteristics and their clear depiction are commendable. The same was the feeling I had when I read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. That story seemed not that great to me, but her power of observation deep into human hearts and minds was greatly reflected in the book. That said, I now know that I love Charles Dickens's style far more than the plain straightforward style of realistic narration of Tolstoy and Austen.

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