Monday, November 7, 2011

Vol I, Part One, Ch XXII-XXV

This batch of chapters takes us to the Bolkonsky's Bald Hills estate, where we see Prince Nikolai Andreevich Bolkonsky and his spinster daughter Marya, Prince Andrei's sister. The older Bolkonsky, a verbally abuse and excessively regimented old devil, sounds like a case of Asperberger's. At once comic and pitiable. There is a paid companion for Marya one Mlle Bourienne-- in a novel about a French invasion, sure to be trouble. There are several lumpy chunks of French. Tolstoy gets away with this completely: I am having so much fun! Andrei, having deposited his pregnant wife with his father and sister, leaves for war. And this seems an elegant end to the first part, a portrait of these several interrelated groups of characters in peacetime.

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