Yiyun Li and the Extraordinary World of ‘War and Peace’

September 15, 2021

At the Paris Review, Yiyun Li revisits Tolstoy‘s War and Peace and reflects on the many ways it continues to resonate throughout generations. “Books that I feel drawn to and reread, War and Peace among them, are full of uncommon sense and common nonsense,” she writes. “(Uncommon nonsense makes exhilarating literature, too, in Lewis Carroll’s case, but uncommon nonsense does better to stay uncommon: in less skillful hands, it becomes caprice or parody.) One imagines that Tolstoy did not seek to write about uncommon sense. He simply presented the world, and the world, looked at closely, is often extraordinary.”

is a writer and illustrator. She is the author of two illustrated books, Last Night's Reading (Penguin Books, 2015) and Sanpaku (Archaia 2018).

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