Genre: Classic Fiction
Setting: Russia, 1805-1820
My copy came from: I read the free Kindle version.
Review: I found War and Peace to be long and boring. I don’t understand why this is such a popular book.
But if you are alive—live: tomorrow you’ll die as I might have died an hour ago. And is it worth tormenting oneself, when one has only a moment of life in comparison with eternity?
War and Peace is that name that people throw out when mentioning classics and long books. Well, it definitely is long! I started War and Peace last May (yep, May 2016!) and just finished it this July. I’m so thrilled to have finally finished this book, so that I can move on to something else. Sadly, I didn’t care for War and Peace at all. I honestly don’t understand why people rave over this book. It was far too long and far too boring. The official synopsis above mentions the characters being “moving”. Well, I don’t know what book they read, but for me, the characters were bland and dry. There really isn’t a main character to this book, and the book focuses on so many different characters that I had trouble keeping everyone straight for at least the first 25% of the book. I had to take notes in order to remember everyone’s connections. If I had to choose a favorite character it would be Prince Andrei Bolkonsky. I remember one scene of his, while he’s on the battlefield, early on in the book, that was so powerful! But, alas, that is one of the only scenes I really remember, and the book can’t survive on one scene alone.
All we can know is that we know nothing. And that’s the height of human wisdom.
As the title suggests, there are “war” sections, that detail fighting, strategy, and soldier’s lives, and there are “peace” sections, that sometimes felt Austen-esque in the drama and theatrics of some of the characters. I preferred the peace sections to the war sections, although, honestly, I didn’t particularly care for either. There are also long sections where Tolstoy rambles on about history, and are more philosophical musings, and I found those to be dry and you guessed it, boring.
The whole world is now for me divided into two halves: one half is she, and there all is joy, hope, light: the other half is everything where she is not, and there is all gloom and darkness…
I really struggled to finish this book, at times setting it down and not picking it up for months, as I was not ever captivated by it. I’m glad that I read it, as it is a classic, and one that is highly regarded, but I can’t recommend it because it is too long and too boring. If you want to read Tolstoy, pick up Anna Karenina instead, which moves must faster and has one of the most compelling heroines I’ve ever read.
I would like to watch the recent miniseries War and Peace, as I think the story will come more alive that way. Perhaps I’ll discover an appreciation for the book after watching the miniseries, although I must admit I am not very optimistic.
Bottom Line: Too long and too boring. This was a very difficult read for me.
Link to my review of Anna Karenina
Did you love War and Peace? Or are you like me, and couldn’t get into it? If you haven’t read it, do you plan on reading it at some point? Have you seen the miniseries? Why is this considered one of the greatest novels of all time?