The Next Chapter·Dog-Eared Reads

Why André Alexis keeps coming back to Tolstoy's War and Peace

Days by Moonlight and Fifteen Dogs writer André Alexis on his abiding love for the Russian classic.
Canadian writer André Alexis says he never gets tired of reading Tolstoy's War and Peace. (Hannah Zoe Davison/Penguin Random House)

André Alexis is the author of Days by MoonlightThe Hidden Keys and the Giller Prize and Canada Reads winning novel Fifteen Dogs, among others. He says no matter how long he's been writing, there are certain books he just keeps coming back to as a reader — in particular, Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace. 

"There are a number of books that I really love to read over and over, but if I had to choose my favourite that I go back to the most, it's War and Peace by Tolstoy. It's not just that I discover things in it; it's not just that I'm constantly forgetting things and being surprised by what I've forgotten. I love the way that I can get back to a familiar, charged environment. And I feel swept away every time I go in. I anticipate parts, I anticipate things to come and they never disappoint me when I get to them. I'm happy at these moments that I 'forgot' because I get to rediscover them." 

André Alexis's comments have been edited and condensed.


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