Friday, February 26, 2010

Volume I, Book II, Chapter VII

This is just brilliant. It's like a symphony.

So we're on the bridge with Nesvitsky. He's crushed into the railing, and the enemy is shooting a cannon. The bridge is a crush of people. The enemy is referred to as he. Having so many soldiers on the bridge, the whole first portion is overheard snippets of conversation. There's too much of it to go into, but it's all tempo - there are people talking, crushing of bodies, a cannonball whizzes by...

and then whoosh, there's a small pause in the action, when all slows down to let a wagon with a German family pass. Everyone is quiet, and all focus is on the young German girl. Time and noise seem to slow down. Then they pass and it all speeds up again.

Excellently, we've already been acquainted with him, so when we hear "Nesvitsky! You ghrascal!" we know who it is. It's Vasya! Yay! And he's dressed up. Nesvitsky mentions that he's not drunk, and he says they don't even give him time to drink. Then there's this great exchange-

"What a dandy you are today!" said Nesvitsky, looking over his new dolman and saddle cloth.
Denisov smiled, took from his pouch a handkerchief that gave off a smell of scent, and put it to Nesvitsky's nose.
"Have to be, I'm going into action! Shaved, bghrushed my teeth, and doused myself with scent."
I am loving Vasya Denisov and his jet black hair and r- swallowing. Makes me laugh.

Such a romantic idea of war! We're fighting - I should look my best! And when the infantry "gazed at the clean, foppish hussars going past them in order, with that special feeling of ill will, alienation, and mockery with which different branches of the military meet each other" we get more general soldier quotes. And a great detail that the military view other branches that way. Must be the same everywhere. Probably not endless walking, wagons, and horses, but I'd imagine the talk sounds similar.

His orchestration of this is wonderful. The voices they speak with, what they speak of, are unexpected and make sense. He sets a scene with people, and everything comes from them. Such a great read.

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