Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Volume I, Book I, Chapter XXIII

The arrival of Andrei to his family estate. He brings along the pregnant princess (Liza), whom he still seems less than enamored of, and interrupts his sister's playing of the clavichord. The Princess calls it a palace and is amazed. He doesn't interrupt his father, as there were twenty more minutes in nap time. Marya and Liza weep over seeing each other, which Andrei seems annoyed by, as it feels false. They only met once briefly at the wedding, and she's never been to his childhood home. They are genuinely overtaken by emotion. There's a lot of deep feeling going around. The Princess is chattering, but during it Marya asks questions to her brother, and when he is going, and it's clear they are connected.

There's a neat moment of connection, when Andrei asks if there father is still the same [in the last chapter we learned that he thought there were two virtues: activity and intelligence, so to that end he is always busy and always learning]:

"The same hours, and the storlls in the avenues? The lathe?"[there's a lathe in his study - activity]asked Prince Andrei with a barely perceptible smile, which showed that, despite all his love and respect for his father, he was aware of his weakness.

Andrei is leaving for the front tomorrow.

Great detail as Andrei describes to his father the battle plans, during which his father asks non sequitur questions, like how far along the pregnancy is, or yelling for his other waistcoat to his valet. There relationship is warm, and T is sure to tell us that his face relaxes and is attractive when he sees his father, rather than around his wife or society people.

T is a great fan of people looking ugly suddenly when they have an ugly thought, or are around people they don't like. Marya is said to have beautiful eyes, so large, deep and luminous that despite the unattractiveness of the whole face, those eyes were more attractive than beauty.

What a great line. Princess Marya never sees those looks, so can't see that she is attractive to people. There are such rich details. And, my favorite in this chapter that she is excited when telling Andrei about her geometry lessons, as if she enjoyed them, when we've seen her blush, close down, and feel stupid. That's a great detail of her momentary lie to seem excited for her brother. T is schooled in the ways people lie to each other and themselves.

We'll see what happens tomorrow.

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