BOOK REVIEW: War & Peace: The Graphic Novel Adapted by Alexandr Poltorak [from the work by Leo Tolstoy]

War and Peace: The Graphic NovelWar and Peace: The Graphic Novel by Leo Tolstoy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars Page

Release Date: September 27, 2022

Get Speechify to make any book an audiobook

Ambitious. Many readers will feel it’s overly ambitious or even impossibly ambitious. It’s not just the challenge of capturing a sprawling 1,220-page tome in a 220-page graphic novel. Tolstoy’s work has a vast cast of characters and captures a broad set of both fictional and factual events whose broad contours are determined by Napoleon’s wars in Europe, culminating in his adventures into Russia. (In other words, the narrative arc wasn’t organized in such a manner as to be readily compressible, but to capture real world events.)

I must make a confession. Usually, when I’m reviewing a graphic novel adaptation of a work of literature, I’ve read the source material. In this case, I haven’t, and so I may not be the best person to comment on how accurately Poltorak and Chukhrai condense events. I can say that the pacing of the book – particularly in the latter half – is a bit like taking in the world through the window of a speeding train. Of the two most important characters, this is particularly true of the experience of Prince Andrew, whose major moments are “blink and you’ll miss them.” Pierre’s arc seems to be covered in greater detail, though still at breakneck pacing.

Given all that, many people will say to themselves: “Realistically, I am never going to read a 1000+ page novel about the experience of Russian aristocratic families leading up to and during the Napoleonic French invasion, even if it has love triangles, conniving inheritance disputes, and plenty of good ole family dysfunction.” The early part of the book is mostly rich people sitting around at soirees discussing war (in peace) as they live out their various familial and romantic dramas. If you’re that person, this graphic novel maybe the perfect solution for you, and I’d recommend it.

View all my reviews

7 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: War & Peace: The Graphic Novel Adapted by Alexandr Poltorak [from the work by Leo Tolstoy]

  1. I read War and Peace about 9 years ago. I put a list of books together that were classic works a writer should read and started my journey. War and Peace was one of them. it was striking and I had so skip some of the long speeches but over all it was a good book.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for your review.
    For authors, the opinion of the reader is always very important. Of course, in order to make a complete adaptation of War and Peace, my brother and I (Chukhrai is my own brother) would have to spend 20 years of our lives on this and create a multi-volume graphic novel that no one needs in this art genre. 500+ characters just to draw tham all – is already quite the volume of a standard graphic novel! ))) Our work is the “impressions” – only the main lines and graphic perception. However, we paid attention to the historical authenticity of the drawings (buildings, interiors, costumes, in most cases – similarity with prototypes) and did not change the plot anywhere (only strong abbreviations).
    “War and Peace” is one of the greatest classical literary works. Our goal was that our reader who read the original would enjoy the visualization, and those who did not read the original would plunge into the world of images and impressions about the “War and Peace”.
    I hope you enjoy it and spent a couple of pleasant evenings with our book.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.