War and Peace

In Books on July 10, 2010 by Vikas Tagged: , ,

When I was growing up, the conventional wisdom was that War and Peace was the sine qua non of difficult books: the scope, the length the length(Seeing the book made me rethink before). Conquering this Everest was the test here. After nearly 1500 pages of fine print taking little less than a month I have now read it.( Thump chest and make Tarzan yell with the possession of the bragging rights.)

This book is the most difficult one to review, reviewing a classic poses problems of repeating things said about them, but it is especially difficult when the classic is a literary canon, and almost impossible when the classic is not a mere novel, but a purposeful epic.

Here is a passage, from a character who’s a POW marching barefoot through Russia in Octobe.(awesome passage)

In captivity in the shed, [he] had learned, not with his mind, but with his whole being, his life, that man is created for happiness, that happiness is within him, in the satisfying of human needs, and that all unhappiness comes not from lack, but from superfluity; but now, in these last three weeks of the march, he had learned a new and more comforting truth — he had learned that there is nothing frightening in the world. He had learned that, as there is no situation in the world in which a man can be happy and perfectly free, so there is no situation in which he can be perfectly unhappy and unfree. He had learned that there is a limit to suffering and a limit to freedom, and that those limits are very close; that the man who suffers because one leaf is askew in his bed of roses, suffers as much as he now suffered falling asleep on the bare, damp ground, one side getting cold as the other warmed up; that when he used to put on his tight ballroom shoes, he suffered just as much as now, when he walked quite barefoot (his shoes had long since worn out) and his feet were covered with sores.

The way the novel has coalesced both the war and peace is the awesome part of it. I can’t review this book for the sheer awesomeness of it. The fun in reading this book was in the second half of the book when full on war break between Russia and France, and how the lives of the people are intertwined in them.

Finally what i can say here is just what Carl Sagan once wrote an essay arguing that looking at a grain of salt could open up answers to questions about the universe. That’s what Tolstoy did here.



Looking forward to a great match which will give a new world cup winner.

No posts for some time in light of the fact that I injured my hand which is now all better.


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