For some time I wanted to read “War and Peace“. It has taken me just over a month although initially I had my doubts about the book. I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy it. Why did I read it? Apart from recommendation from the few people I follow/read in the Internet, it is because I think reading this type of books will make me wiser, smarter, find the solutions to the mysteries of the universe and life (it is not 42), etc etc. It never happens. But at least, I try to learn something new, soaks up new experiences, conversations, etc.
I liked the intro about the book and Tolstoy life. A highlight of that is he tried to remove copyrights of his novels, he belonged to old nobility family and fought in the Crimean war.
The book is focused in the Napaleonic Wars in Russia. I was surprised how strong was the French influence in Russia. The nobility was mainly French educated and there are parts of the book where some characters mention how bad is their Russian.
It is a long book, thought was going to be boring but was engaging. I guess it is an stereotopic: Russian things are boring, grey, dull. It is luck of knowledge of Eastern countries (real) culture. It felt like a “Pillar of the Earth” + a soup-opera. But it wasn’t cheesy at all. So see how deep and different is each character. How they evolve. There is some (life) philosophy (mainly from Pierre during his spell in the front) that really got me. It is something that I really believe in: simple life. And there are a lot pages about (the complexity / meaning) of love.
But mainly the book is about History. I have learnt history mainly based in big characters and actions. But Tolstoy’s point is History is not really that, is not that rational/causistic as we try to believe (and write). He focus several times in Napoleon. How he was a genius in some battles but then how he failed in Russia campaign. Tolstoy argues that is not just Napoleon’s action that produce those outcomes. It was everything around. But we try to focus and justify outcomes in just one fact.
The novel doesnt really have an end. It just ends. It is not made in Holiwood. So it is nice.