I started the book as sort of a lenten exercise. Instead of giving up something I loved, like wine and sloth, I decided to take on something laborious — not really realizing that this particular labor would take a lot longer than the 40 days of Lent.
Surprisingly though, one of the longest books in the known universe turns out to be a pretty good story. I haven’t dreaded picking it up each night. Yes, it’s been a slog, but not the dreary sort of slog I expected. (For that kind of ordeal, you need something like “Atlas Shrugged.”) I finally got all the characters straightened out on about page 8,579, and after that it was smooth sailing. If there’s anything you want to know about the experience of Russian royals during the War of 1812, let me know.
Here’s another surprise — for me at least: Turns out a brand-new “War and Peace” BBC miniseries was just released this winter! How’s that for timing? I had no idea. From the IMDB entry, it looks like “Downton Abbey” with a lot more sex and violence. What’s not to like? Seems like a pretty good cast, too: Looking at stills from the show, I was able to identify who plays what character without captions. I see “Downton’s” Lily James has the key role of Natasha.
Anyway, I’m crossing Tolstoy’s classic off the bucket list. Longest book I’ve ever read, and probably the longest I ever will read. I won’t astonish you with the long list of classics I still haven’t attempted, but I do feel a certain sense of accomplishment with this one.