Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Vol I, Part Two, Ch. IV-VIII: More War/ How They Ride Horses / Hairy Fingers

So the war grinds on... or races on, I guess, if you like this sort of historical fiction. I cannot say I am as charmed by these chapters as I was the city scenes in peacetime. But this is just my taste-- I remain in awe of this novel.

I'm blogging lightly here so I can make some more progress and finish on schedule...

What strikes me: some of the descriptions of how different men ride their horses, e.g.:

p. 138

"He called the Cossack with the horse, told him to put the bag and flask away, and lightly swung his heavy body into the saddle."

p. 144

"...the whole squadron, as if on command, with all their similarly dissimular faces, holding their breath while the cannonball flew over, rose in their stirrups, then lowered themselves again."

p. 146

"Striking his horse with his long, muscular legs, as if it was all the horse's fault..."

And I admired the vividness of the description of Denisov, p. 144:

"Vaska Denisov's pug-nosed and black-haired face, and his whole small, compact figure with his sinewy hand (the short fingers covered with hair), in which he gripped the hilt of his bared saber..."

Such a fine example of using detail for vividness. I go on about that rather endlessly in my workshops.

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