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Happy Book Lovers Day! I’m celebrating by reading War and Peace

I’ve just embarked on the literary equivalent of climbing Mount Everest: reading Tolstoy’s War and Peace. If there ever were a book to read on a Kindle, this is it! At 1,329 pages (or 15hrs and 35mins as my Kindle helpfully informs me) you’d be mad not to. There are almost as many translators of War and Peace as there are characters in the novel. I settled for the Aylmer and Louise Maude version which seems good. The Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky’s translation also comes recommended although there’s a lot more French in it, with corresponding footnotes, which some readers have found irritating.

I’m a couple of ‘percentages’ into the book and there are a few things that hits you: firstly, there are A LOT of characters in this novel, many of whom are known under more than one name (!). More than a little confusing. Having seen BBC’s excellent series helps and pulling up their cast list has worked wonders for me. In fact, watching the series beforehand is not a bad idea. The second thing is that Tolstoy’s writing style is surprisingly light. At times it reminds me of a play, plenty of dialogue interspersed by descriptive writing, which almost reads like stage instructions. The third and best news is that it immediately sucks you in! I’m already hooked and I can tell from the look on my husband’s face that he’s bracing himself for a few lonely weeks. Would you like to join me? If so, send me an email and we can hold hands as we climb…

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