Monday, August 10, 2015

147. King Lear of the Steppes

King Lear of the Steppes
Ivan Turgenev
1870
Around 200 pages












It really looks like I am phoning in it with my pictures, but honestly, I think very few people care that this book existed.  There is not even a Wikipedia page for it.  There is good reason for this, since I found the novel to be rather unremarkable.

The story starts with a party talking about the Shakespearean characters they have met in their lives: the Falstaffs, the Hamlets, the Macbeths, etc.  The narrator then talks about his encounter with a King Lear type.  As a side note, I have never met a Falstaff or a Hamlet.  I have maybe met a couple of Parises in my time.  I have to hang out with more interesting people.

Anyway, Martin Petrovich Harlov is afraid he is going to die so leaves everything to his two daughters and son-in-law.  Does everything go well?  I will give you a hint: it's a Russian novel.

Like I said, this book didn't leave that much of an impression on me and I am racking my brains trying to think of something to say about it.  I didn't find anything of the characters sympathetic; they were either whiny, antisemitic, or cold as ice.  Why couldn't the characters have chosen to explore the Katherinas or Benedicts in their lives instead?  This feels like a wasted opportunity.

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

This book is too obscure to find any interesting trivia on.  However, I did just get Booklovers Trivial Pursuit.  It still makes me feel incredibly dull witted, but at least it is an improvement from regular Trivial Pursuit.

UP NEXT: Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll.  Already checked off.

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