Hmm so this is very weird and very personal read for me…And when I say personal, I mean that my review is very subjective and deeply affected by me, me being bilingual, and my personal history with Leo Tolstoy.
So War & Peace and I go a long way back. I’ve tried to read the book twice before, but I never managed to finish it. Was it because I was too young? It sounds possible, but I read Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina when I was 13, maybe 14, and really enjoyed it, so that’s probably not the case. Was it the length of the book? Could be. I think, however, that my inability to finish it is mostly due to wrong timing and/or mood. I know for a fact that one day I will get back to it.
Well, now that that’s out of the way I feel like I need to explain where me being bilingual fits in. I speak – and read in – two languages, my native Greek, and English. When it comes to books, I really want to read them in the language they were originally written. Most of the time, it’s quite easy, since most of the books I reach for are written in English. Things get a bit tougher, however, when it comes to classic lit. Two of my favourite books of all time are Les Miserables and Crime and Punishment, written originally in French and Russian respectively. So, what do I do then? I go for the greek translation. Admittedly, the greek language is much richer than the english one, and I believe it captures the spirit of books that were not written in English in a better, more accurate way. Reading an excerpt from War and Peace in English may have been easier and quicker, but I felt like it took something a way from the story. That’s just me, though.
Overall, I did enjoy this relatively small sample of an otherwise enormous book, and I saw some of my suspicions and feelings proven (aka my mistrust and hatred for Anatole). It also put the entire book into a new perspective and I think that, were I to reach for it again, I would be able to better understand and appreciate it, because I got to familiarize myself with its characters a bit more.
PS. I hope the musical snatches all the Tonys, because it absolutely deserves it, it’s one of my favourite musicals of the year.
**An ARC was provided via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review**