Read War & Peace or Rememberance of Things Past. »» Philip Dawkins

War & Peace – Leo Tolstoy

Book One, or, “We Like to Party”

The year is 1805. Anna Pavlovna Scherer (schemer, party-thrower & friend of queen mother Maria Feodorovna, a woman with an unusually flattering Wikipedia entry) is throwing a soiree in St. Petersburg, conveniently attended by all the aristocratic families of the novel (meaning this is one big ass party, people). There’s a lot of chatter about Napolean, who has been notably busy as of late, & an overwhelming number of people are introduced &/or gossiped about. A great deal of French is interjected at random, giving things a very Addams-family feel, & petticoats are fluffed ad nauseam. The Count Kirill Vladimirovich Bezukhov, illegitimate father to Pierre Bezukhov, is dying of a stroke with way more drama than is really necessary & when he finally kicks it Pierre is drawn into a mad battle over Kirill’s inheritance $$. There’s gossip over a drinking party than ended with a live bear thrown into a river with a cop tied to his back & these two youngin’s named Boris & Natasha (seriously) who are in love & then a bunch of screaming kids come tearing through the parlor for about 5 pages. There is much talk of war, Russia, & money. Count Kirill has a few more strokes, & a number of extreme unctions are performed, each undoubtedly more extreme than the last. The Rostovs dance the “sixth anglaise”, which I like to think of as a cross between the Lindy Hop and crumping. Count Kirill dies.

The book then moves to The Bleak Hills, home of Prince Nikolay Andreivitch Bolkonsky & daughter, Princess Maria, where there is much lecturing & letter writing (as evidenced by the pious princess’ missives to her friend Julie Karagin. Julie tells Maria all about the dinner party & Napolean [aka “the Corsican Monster” – flattering, no?] & Pierre Bezukhov’s newfound cash money. Oh, & P.S. – Prince Vassily wants his douchbag of a son, Anatole, to marry Maria. Maria writes back to Julie &, good lord, never was there a girl more dead set on growing up to be a martyr. Pity Pierre for his money. War means killing. Killing is wrong. If God wills me married to a douchebag, then the wife of a douchebag shall I be. Geeze.). Prince Andrey and his exceptionally pregnant (& childish) sexpot of a wife, Liza, pay a visit, & there is more talk of war, Russia, & Napolean. At the end of dinner Prince Andrey preps to leave for war, but before doing so tells his father that if he should die in battle, his newborn son is to be raised by the old man & not by Liza. Oh, snap!

I know this all sounds really boring, but it’s Russia, so I like to imagine that they’re all really trashed & there are lots of juggling bears & really, everyone is just having the time of their lives.

Book Two, as Told in Instant Messages Between Two Outsiders I Call Smirnoff & Yeltzin

Smirnoff: OMG big battle in vienna

Yeltzin: orly?

Smirnoff: & nikolai is back. & he said he was marrying sonya

Yeltzin: :O

Smirnoff: ! & natasha got HOT.

Yeltzin: she’s w/ denisov, right?

Smirnoff: i heard he proposed & she shot him down.

Yeltzin: fail!

Yeltzin: u hear abt ellen & pierre?

Smirnoff: oh ive heard about ellen

Yeltzin: slutlols

Smirnoff: 4realz

Yeltzin: NEway, pierre & dolokhov duelled

Smirnoff: stfu

Yeltzin: srsly! pierre thought he was boning ellen

Smirnoff: wasn’t he?

Yeltzin: who wasn’t!

Smirnoff: how’d it go?

Yeltzin: dolokhov injured, then – get this – proposed 2 sonja.

Smirnoff: i thought nikolai was marrying sonja?

Yeltzin: she said no, but changed her mind later & said yes. & i guess ellen tweaked on pierre.

Smirnoff: bitches be wylin

Yeltzin: he peaced, but she got mad $$ in the settlement. now he’s in the freemasons & all, “how can one live a moral life in an immoral world?”

Smirnoff: :/

Yeltzin: i kno

Smirnoff: oh! liza died!

Yeltzin: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Smirnoff: yeah. childbirth. kid’s ok.

Yeltzin: :(

Smirnoff: yeah. :(  but i guess andrei & natasha are engaged now, even tho he’s back off at the war n shit.

Smirnoff: didn’t take him long, huh?

Yeltzin: well, it’s natasha.

SmirnofF: i guess. i hear pierre was hot for her, too.

Yeltzin: prolly.

Smirnoff: so what happened w/ dolokhov after the duel/sonja?

Yeltzin: last i heard he played nikolai in cards & now the kid owes dolokhov like 43thou rubles.

Smirnoff: like he needs more debt.

Yeltzin: 4real. he’s gone 2 poland now 2 fight in the gd war.

Smirnoff: gd war.

Yeltzin: hey, u goin 2 the bar 2nite?

Smirnoff: does a cossack live in the southern steppe region of eastern europe & russia?!

Yeltzin: hell yes! cu there!

Smiroff: peace

Yeltzin: peace