I have to admit, War and Piece intimidated me. The sheer size of it, the huge cast of characters and the fact that is a russian classic (I have that weird prejudice that Russian literature is difficult to read) really made me hesitate to read this book. But since I wanted to watch the BBC miniseries, I had to go on with it.
And I´m so glad I did, because I love this book eventhough it has its flaws. At times the war chapters felt like a history lesson, Tolstoys musings about the war strategies were most of the time too drawn out and there´s a huge list of characters and sometimes it was hard to keep track of them (keeping a list of the characters might be helpful). And I´m the first to admit that I had problems with grasping the motivations of the characters most of the time. Especially Pierre was making one odd decision after another and I kept scratching my head (I guess the Russian soul is a special one). But because of these flaws in the characters and because of the time I have spent with them, I became emotionally attached to the characters. Whether it being their feeling of happiness and love or their struggles with war, death and hardship, I kept turning the pages to see what is going to happen next and it´s been such a great experience to be in the same emotional turmoil alongside the characters.
There is one thing, though, that I didn´t like about War and Peace and this is the epilogue. It consists of two parts. The first part is about the characters and how they live their lives seven years later. I wish I hadn´t read this part, because all of a sudden I didn´t like the characters anymore. And I don´t think that the epilogue adds anything to the overall narrative. The second part of the epilogue consists of Tolstoys philosophical musings about war, history and why people act the way they do. And I didn´t find this to be particularly interesting. And yes, the epilogue is the reason why War and Piece didn´t get a five star rating from me.
But still, I love it and now I can proudly claim that I have read War and Peace in it´s entirety. It´s a great feeling.