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Graphic Novel Review: War and Peace by Alexandr Poltorak, Dmitry Chukhrai, and Leo Tolstoy

Title: War and Peace
Author: Alexandr Poltorak, Dmitry Chukhrai, and Leo Tolstoy
Year published: 2022
Category: Adult fiction (graphic novel)
Pages: 224 pages
Rating: 3 out of 5

Location: (my 2022 Google Reading map)Russia

SummaryIn this beautifully rendered graphic adaptation, both fans and newcomers alike will be immersed in the world of War and Peace, one of the most celebrated novels of all time, about the misadventures of about the misadventures of Pierre Bezúkhov, Natásha and Ilyá Rostóv, and company during the Napoleonic era of Russia.

With richly detailed settings re-creating the villas and ballrooms of the 19th century, character design based on the real-life inspirations for the figures in the book, and visual depictions of elements from the original text, War and Peace: The Graphic Novel brings Tolstoy's masterpiece to life as never before.

Including forewords from Russian literature experts from the Leo Tolstoy library, this graphic adaptation distills the major plotlines and characters of the sprawling epic for readers to experience this classic novel in a whole new way.

Review: When I was in high school I created a bucket list with all the usual things: get married, have children, sky dive, travel, and more. On that very yellowed list is "read War and Peace." Yeah, I've never read it and realize that I never will. So, when I saw this graphic novel version at my local indie bookstore recently, I decided to get it. I know it isn't the full length version, but it's the only way I'm going to be exposed to this classic.
I have heard that there are a ton of characters in this novel and was surprised to see 4 pages of characters! 36 of them. Then I read the intro and learned that the novel has 550 characters. 🤣That is an overwhelming way to begin a novel for me so I didn't look at the list carefully. Hmmm. Many of them look alike so it's a bit confusing.
Let's begin with the illustrations. Chukhrai's artwork is fairly dark (not a surprise, it is after all a dark/heavy Russian novel) ,but well done and evocative of the era. I think they fit the story well and definitely set the feeling of the novel in a way that added to my reading experience.

As for the story itself, after waiting almost 40 years to read it... I am totally confused. When I finished this graphic novel, I read the reviews on Goodreads and see that most people agree with me. While this is really well done and ambitious, it is not perhaps the best mode for this novel. Too much gets left out so I wasn't really sure what was going on most of the time. I like that it was given approval by the Moscow Tolstoy Library/Museum, which gives it an aura of authenticity, but it was a tough read and I am not sure I am all the wiser to what War and Peace is actually about. And yeah, I'm not going to read the full novel; it is just going to have to remain uncrossed on my bucket list.

Have you read War and Peace? Congratulations if you have, and what did you think?

Challenges for which this counts:
  • Literary Escapes--Russia

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