I thoroughly enjoyed reading this classic. As an aspiring author, I found this novel to be a must-read for my evolution as a writer.
What I enjoyed the most was how Tolstoy takes readers into the minds of each character. He really captures the nuances of human psychology which are often masked by fake facial expressions and social norms alike. His vivid descriptions of the battles were also a treat. It was evident beyond doubt that he had first-hand experience with the vagaries and ecstasies of war in his life. His conveyance of the various battles and everyday struggles of soldiers were captivating and very authentic.
There was also a definite philosophical thread running through War and Peace, embodied in many ways by Pierre Bezhukov which I feel attaches a deeper meaning to this book. Perhaps Tolstoy had a much deeper purpose behind this opus. At the end, I am left reflecting on how many aspects of the philosophy he describes seem so relevant to the present day. Indeed this book reminds very much of the quote from the French existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, “Tout a été découvert sauf comment vivre” (“Everything has been figured out except how to live”). The only minor drawback of this book is it’s length.
At over 1300 pages it took me a whole month to get through it. So I would advise prospective readers that it does require some persistence to finish War and Peace. However, in my humble view, it is very much worth the effort.