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Zwetkowa, Milena

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Kultura - Bulgaria | 31/05/2007

Fast-food books for 21st century readers

Milena Zwetkowa uses the example of a modern version of the Russian classic 'War and Peace' to vent her frustration about the 21st century reader. This kind of reader, she points out, is mobile and unattached to a specific region or home and therefore does not possess a private collection of books. These modern readers want fast-food books like this 'light' version of Leo Tolstoy's 'War and Peace'. "All the 'difficult' bits have been removed from the novel... In this light version Andrei Bolkonski and Petya Rostov stay alive and Natasha marries the boring Pierre Bezukhov. We can be sure that this desecration of a classic has a purpose - to attract those who were deterred by the sheer length and the dark ending of the novel; those who like alternative reading and reject all kinds of instruction or obligation. This is a naked condemnation of great style. It is thus reserved for either older readers who have deservedly retired from active life or unemployed book and literature enthusiasts."

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