War and Peace: The Fourth Time

Finally reading the new translation of War and Peace, years after Jeff and Gus read it. It’s wonderful, intimate, with a modern tight third person point of view very unlike the British Victorians, who were masters of the omniscient POV. In this translation, I can hear Tolstoy’s voice, his dry wit, his playfulness with words and repetition, see how he darts from one thing to another, but still builds his scene, makes his point, draws you into a character’s soul. It’s like reading a completely different book from the previous versions.

Ginny and I have reading group for W&P, called Tiny Reading Group, Enormous Book. She had to tear hers in two so she could read it on the subway. I read in bed, and the weighty tome threatens to crush me. I cross one leg over the other and prop W&P on the upper foot so my arms don’t collapse under the weight.

I have a literary crush on the translators. Who wouldn’t? Look at them! Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. Aren’t they fabulous? A French-speaking Russian and American living in Paris with trilingual children, translating Gogol, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky? Please.

Everyone should read War and Peace. Start now.

2013 List:

11-12. Blood of Dragons, The Princess and the Piebald Prince, Robin Hobb.
10. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5-9. The Kellys and the O’Kellys, John Calidgate, Mr. Scarborough’s Family, The Macdermonts of Ballycloran, The Claverings, Anthony Trollope
4. Splendors and Glooms, Laura Amy Schlitz
3. Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey, The Countess of Carnavon
2. Marion Fay, Anthony Trollope
1. Castle Richmond, Anthony Trollope


1. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s