Finally barely any new characters, so time for a new approach.
There were two different settings in this section.
Count Bezukhov’s Manor: We finally see Count Bezukhov, but he’s too far gone to count as a real character. There’s some drama with Vasili and Bez’s daughter Catherine plotting to destroy the current will to make sure Pierre isn’t made legitimate so he can inherit. Anna M, though, is a plotter herself, and knows she can glean off Pierre if he inherits but not anyone else, so she manipulates the situation to make sure no one destroys anything, while steering the oaf Pierre around and telling him what to do. Then Bez dies. We find out later that Pierre does inherit–now he’s Count Pierre
Prince Nicholas Andreevich Bolkonski’s Pad: Prince Nick is a little crazy in a scary way and not a fun way like Hamlet. He’s intense and keeps an exact schedule and makes sure no one living with him, especially his heavy-treading daughter Mary, can have an evil idle moment. Then his son Andrew and his pregnant wife with the downy lip visit. Andrew heads off to war pretty much right away. He feels bad that he doesn’t love his wife, but not so bad that he’d want his wife to raise their son if he dies at war–he asks his father to do the job.
And I finished Book 1! And the chapter numbers start over again…I’m a little disappointed about this. I might keep numbering up anyway.
I’m not sure what to think of this book yet. It seems pretty straightforward. I don’t have to think too deeply about anything in it, but it’s fairly enjoyable. The characters are realistic and interesting, though sometimes over-described (like how many times does he have to talk about Vera’s downy lip. Now I just picture her with a mustache. I like seeing the contrast between the completely brainless ones (Mary, Pierre) and the really smart/crafty ones (Andrew, Anna, Vasili). In looking briefly at the portrayal of the women, they seem to be as fairly represented as the men–ranging from stupid to crafty to smart, though there are probably more stupid women than stupid men.
I’m looking forward to reading more. So on to Book 2!