Monday, March 03, 2008

The Road to Calvary (part III) - post V

The book is moving into the final stages and it looks set for a happy ending. Of course in this context a happy ending means that everyone becomes a supporter of the Reds and the Whites are crushed.

As the story has unfolded it has been dogged by a political stance that the other Tolstoy managed to avoid in War and Peace. Here there is an agenda that manages to make those parts of the narrative that are setting up the next stage of the civil war feel slightly too long and when the action comes the characters are sometimes lost to the politics.

But when they do break through there is a great writer underneath that is able to describe people and places in a way that makes it powerfully imaginable. Roshchin closes in on Katia. His wife has to fend off the attentions of the peasant who has set his heart on owning her and she flees before he returns just as Roshchin arrives in her village. He is so close to her he can see her handwriting in her diary and the small cottage where she has been staying.

Meanwhile, Telegin and Dasha have been in hard fighting and there love blossoms again as they realise how precious the moments together are. She becomes ill and is left by Telegin in the care of a former priest who promises to get them removed from the battle area.

More, possibly the last chunk, tomorrow…

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