Let’s Read This Thing : War and Peace is my attempt to jot down notes and reactions to this monstrous novel that I’m reading for the first time. Spoilers might happen, no promises. But they are probably kind of vague?
Volume I closes with men feeling disillusioned with their leaders and with the war they fight in. Volume II opens with those same thoughts, but toward domestic life and what it should be.
Pierre, who has now settled into married life, is finding that it is certainly not what he expected it to be, and as the soldiers of the story return home and re-enter society they compound his marriage problems further.
Dolokhov, ever the scoundrel, interferes with Pierre and then with the Rostovs. A messy duel with Count Bezukhov followed by some shady card games with Nikolai leave Dolokhov’s opponents as mentally injured as he was physically.
Meanwhile at the Bolkonsky clan headquarters of Bald Hill, Andrei returns to the family who thought him dead… only to face a major crisis that has him regretting all of the glory chasing that had prompted him towards enlisting in the first place.
My how these families have changed since the first pages of Volume I, Part 1! So many of these men and women seemed to know exactly what they wanted- valor, praise, marriage, money, family- and it really isn’t working out well for many of them. Even the ones who do seem more or less victorious have paid some sort of price. Dolokhov gets some money and a fling… but gets shot. Helene gets a fortune without having to deal with her husband, but she takes a hit to her social status to do it. The Bolkonskys get their son/husband/brother back… but… yeah. RIP little mustache. RIP.
Reading this novel has been an interesting experiment. I’ve obviously never read it before, and I’ve never seen any visual adaptations so my knowledge of future plot points is non-existent. It’s strange to write about what I think might be the overarching themes, or what conclusions I think characters are headed towards- but I could be totally wrong!
Until next time! Which will probably be soon because Volume II has some really short parts to it…