Monday, June 26, 2006

It is finished

I have returned from Korea.

I finished reading War and Peace on the plane, somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. Now, wouldn't you know that my seatmate to the right on that long flight would be a man from Serbia with some Russian heritage who was most intrigued to see me reading Tolstoy, and to learn that I had read other Tolstoy as well as other Russian authors. I thought - really? Are we known as such plebes that we aren't even thought to have read phenomenal Russian literature? I'm such a fan of Russian lit. Dostoevsky and Nabokov and then there are gems like The Master and Margarita by Bulgakov...anyway, I digress.

I finished the book!

I also finished my stint in Korea.

The Serb/Russian man asked me what one main point I would take from the book. One? I was incredulous. But I said, after a moment's reflection, you know, it's that there is something bigger than us all guiding this whole thing (life).

And it's not simple. It's not simply "God." Tolstoy, they say, did come to terms with Christianity in his way. But I mean, the epilogue just went on and on about this philosophy he's been sprinkling throughout the book about historical events; the free will or lack thereof of kings, generals, and so forth; the interconnectedness of it all; and how the farther we get from events in history -- or in our lives, I daresay -- the more sense they make.

Needless to say, I had a fabulous plane ride home. Sooooo much thinking. I can honestly say, between the comfy seat (in the big middle five-seat row, but the bulkhead gave some leg room) and the many things I had to contemplate contending with upon arriving back on U.S. soil, that I wanted that journey to never end.

1 comment:

the queen said...

How could you not reply "History is like a train?" I mean, I wanted to throw that book across the room the hundredth time he said that. And did he ever name the great guiding force? I know he said "NOT God, NOT Fate, NOT ..." every other term you could think of.

But yeah. And Pierre and Natasha? When I was younger I thought "huh" and now of course it is perfect. Snif. So happy for them.