I read somewhere that War and Peace is considered the best novel of all time. (The same list put Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain as the second best.) It's a book one must read, and I added it to my list for the fifty classics project. (I read The Magic Mountain too, a long time ago and I can't really say that I enjoyed it all that much, although I did learn an awful lot about early treatments for tuberculosis.)
Anyway, what can I say about War and Peace that won't sound completely idiotic and ignorant? I thought it was going to be a little like Jane Austen, only with fur hats. Not that I'm disappointed! It's just that it's a very complex novel. As the title implies, the action shifts between the battlefield and the drawing room. I'm an absolute blockhead where military tactics are concerned and I struggled whenever the focus was on the war. Aside from the war, the novel centers on three families: the Rostovs, the Bolkonskys, and the illegitimate count, Pierre Bezukhov and their stories are absorbing, particularly that of the love between Natasha Rostov and Prince Andrei Bolkonsky.
Vladimir Nabokov said, "Curiously, one cannot read a book, one can only reread it. " This is especially true of War and Peace. For a novel as complex as this one, an initial reading is necessary so that when you read it again, you are better able to understand and appreciate it.
Have you read it? Thoughts?