Thursday, August 14, 2014

128. Fathers and Sons

Fathers and Sons
Ivan Turgenev
Around 215 pages

I really enjoyed this book, so of course I have been putting off writing this review; I always have trouble with raves.  I actually read a few other List books in between this and Silas Marner that I am excited to complain about later.  Isn't it refreshing to meet someone who likes to complain?

Arkady Kirsanov returns home to his family's estate with his friend Bazarov, who quickly pisses off Arkady's father and uncle with his nihilistic views.  Bazarov doesn't believe in anything at all, that is, until he meets Madame Odintsova.

I am discovering that I absolutely love Russian romance novels.  First of all, it is quite common for married people to fall in love with other people so the woman isn't always a naive virgin and the man isn't always a perfectly honorable gentleman.  I also love the clash of traditional and modern thinking particularly in regards to courtship.  In this novel, even though duels are now considered a bit dated, the men still must participate in them because what else are they going to do?  Let the woman decide?  Pshaw.  It is a weird transitional period that makes for really good literature.

I loved watching Bazarov develop.  Most college age men go through the whole nihilistic, nothing matters phase but they tend to outgrow it as soon as they fall in love or actually have to pay taxes.  But Bazarov's stubborn streak makes his path a little more interesting.

A great novel and definitive proof that not all Russian novels have to drag on and on, ad nauseam.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

Popularized the term "nihilism".

Considered to be the first modern Russian novel.

UP NEXT: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.  See you in nine years.

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