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A daily record of what I'm thinking about what I'm reading

To read about movies and TV shows I'm watching, visit my other blog: Elliot's Watching

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Should I stay or should I go?

The French army is approaching. What's a Muscovite to do? The leadership (Rastropov? can't remember his name) is ludicrously ineffective, sending out conflicting messages and instructions. Rumors fly. Nobody knows what the truth is or what the hell to do about it. Tolstoy focuses on Pierrre and on the Rostov family, who seem headed on different courses (inevitably to meet somewhere). Rastropov chews out Pierre, accusing him of being a Mason (true) and a pacifist (not true), and Pierre, thinking somehow of his latest mystical vision, which came to him as he wandered, half-dazed, away from the battle of Borodino thinking about, if I remember right, everything being hitched together like a carriage (much like Forster's "only connect" I think), decides to hell with it, goes home, sleeps, wakes, and, while people who "have business with him" wait in his sitting room, takes off out the back door, apparently not to be seen again till the siege is lifted. The Rostovs, meanwhile, are trying to leave Moscow but in their ineffectual way are bungling everything, the Countess doting over her younger son, home from the Army, the children accomplishing nothing, the Count likewise. They pack, but don't get off the dime. Can't help feeling bad for Sonya, who now realizes that Nikolai is lost to her (he's written his mother about his meeting with the wealthy Marya Bolkonsky, and his mother insensitively talks about what a great match that will be, which Sonya concedes). There has to be someone for Sonya, right? All this frivolity building up to what I imagine will be scenes of horror as the French move in, and then retreat. Which will be worse - the battle or the occupation?

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