Customer Review

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fiction at its best - captivating, honest, and above all human, 29 Mar. 2011
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This review is from: War and Peace (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
There are may reasons you may feel hesitant about committing to War and Peace. It's a huge book, its font is small, it has a grandiose title. You may have heard that it confronts you with a flood of characters (over 500) or that it's subject matter is one that doesn't interest you (Napoleon's invasion of Russia). Please forget all these concerns and read this book. It is quite simply amazing and has a good chance of changing, if not your view on life, certainly your view on literature and what it can achieve.

Why is War and Peace so brilliant? Tolstoy understands and captures human nature like no one else. A relatively mundane activity such as a dinner party will in Tolstoy's words come alive. He draws us into what is ostensibly an alien and glamorous world - Russian nobility at the turn of the 18th century - and shows us that this world is one we all already know. The characteristics that make up his complex characters- the ambition, the pretence, the warmth, the stupidity, the love, the idealism, and the pride to name but a few - are characteristics we 200 years later can't help but instantly recognise. And when you see it it will move you, shock you, enlighten you, make you laugh- above all, it will reward you.

The handful of main characters (Pierre, Prince Andrew and Natasha) will seem alive and real every page they appear. But the book doesn't shirk the epic in favour of the personal - by the end of War and Peace you will have been followed a tide of humans into Russia and and out again and you'll be thinking about nothing less than history in a very different light. When you hit that final page you will wish there were 1,000 more. Stunning, engaging but above all a true book. Superlatives cannot do this justice, only you reading it can!
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