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War and Peace (Vintage Classic Russians Series) Paperback – 5 Jan 2017
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"If you've never read it, now is the moment. This translation will show that you don't read War and Peace, you live it" (The Times)
"This is, at last, a translation of War and Peace without the dreadful misunderstandings and "improvements" that plague all other translations of the novel into English. Pevear and Volokhonsky's supple and compelling translation is the closest that an English reader without Russian can get to Tolstoy's masterwork. This is a great achievement. It is hard to imagine how this translation could be superseded."" (Vladimir E. Alexandrov, Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures,)
"It is simply the greatest novel ever written. All human life is in it. If I were told there was time to read only a single book, this would be it" (Andrew Marr)
"Reveals Tolstoy in his majestic scope and precision to this reader for the first time, unencumbered by the pidgin archaisms of previous translations, ringing with mastery and truth" (Times Literary Supplement, Books of the Year)
"It may sound pretentious, or strange, but I can remember the weeks (three weeks, to be precise) I spent reading War and Peace as a peak experience of sustained excitement and deep delight. Part of the delight was the largeness and strangeness of this world - the sense of the vastness and extremes of Russia, the unboundedness of everything" (Finacial Times)
About the Author
Leo Tolstoy was born in central Russia on 9 September 1828. In 1852 he published his first work, the autobiographical Childhood. He served in the army during the Crimean War and his Sevastopol Sketches (1855-6) are based on his experiences. His two most popular masterpieces are War and Peace (1864-69) and Anna Karenina (1875-8). He died in 1910.
Together, Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky have translated works by Tolstoy, Chekhov, Gogol, Bulgakov and Pasternak. They were twice awarded the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize (for their translations of Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov and Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina) and their translation of Dostoevsky’s Demons was one of three nominees for the same prize. They are married and live in France.
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However, this is physically a brick of a book and the glued paperback binding makes it difficult to hold and read. It would be far easier if it had some sort of lay-flat binding or a wider gutter. I'd like to be able to lie it down to take the weight off (literally!!) but the binding makes for a colossal valley, and I'm certainly not going to risk cracking the spine.
This is an amazing story of love, friendship, politics and life set against a backdrop of 19th century Russian society and the Napoleonic wars. The translation flows well and is a really enjoyable read. Don’t be put off by the size of the book, this translation is far more accessible than the others I’ve tried over the years.
Fantastic story, great translation and a pretty cover - what more can you ask for!