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Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev
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Fathers and Sons (1862)

by Ivan Turgenev

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
6,987105903 (3.85)1 / 328
When a young graduate returns home he is accompanied, much to his father and uncle's discomfort, by a strange friend "who doesn't acknowledge any authorities, who doesn't accept a single principle on faith." Turgenev's masterpiece of generational conflict shocked Russian society when it waspublished in 1862 and continues today to seem as fresh and outspoken as it did to those who first encountered its nihilistic hero.… (more)
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English (94)  Dutch (4)  French (3)  Portuguese (1)  Turkish (1)  Spanish (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (105)
Showing 1-5 of 94 (next | show all)
Prima vertelling, zeker voor oude sentimentele zotten die zowel vader als zoon zijn (zoals schrijver van deze review). ( )
  KrisM | May 26, 2020 |
My copy of the novel contained the transcript of Isaiah Berlin's Lecture on Fathers and Children, which was fantastic. I would recommend reading it after Fathers and Sons rather than as an intro.

Fathers and Sons is around 1000 pages shorter than War and Peace and 600 shorter than The Brothers Karamazov, so if you're in the mood for something Russian but have a life to live, this is your best bet. It contains much of the political and philosophical reflection as well as psychological intrigue that makes Russian novels so amazing, but it's thin to the point where no time is wasted and, unfortunately, no profound ideas or important emotional expressions have quite enough time to marinate. Turgenev's style is smoother than Dostoevsky's and less preachy than Tolstoy's, but he's still my least favorite of the three.

Don't get me wrong, though. Fathers and Sons is well worth your time, and if you aren't particularly familiar with the other titans of 19th century Russian literature, then this is a fantastic place to start.

Also, don't get typhus. It's pretty bad. ( )
  bgramman | May 9, 2020 |
GR 3.97
  Huha | May 1, 2020 |
"We sit in the mud, my friend, and reach for the stars."

First published in 1862 this novel is a piece of classic literature written by an author who at the time was considered as one of Russia's most ‘liberal’ authors and it addresses some of the differences of the period between the generations. Central to the story are two sons, Bazarov and Arkady, and their respective fathers focusing mainly on the relationship between Arkady and his father Nikolai.

The novel was written at a time when the class system was undergoing major changes within Russian society. Bazarov believes that changes to the old tradition are good and essential, Nikolai’s brother Pavel fears and loathes it whereas Nikolai is simply trying to make the best of it.

Bazarov is the central character of this novel. He is a nihilist who utterly rejects all the values on which society is based and spends a lot of time emphasizing on the importance of equality. He doesn't put much of store in art and romanticism but when he falls in love he is forced in to a re-evaluation. At times I found myself loving him whilst at others hating him but in truth due to censorship it is unlikely that the author would have been allowed to make him as radical as he probably would have liked.

Most of the servant class characters show respectable levels of deference and commitment to their old masters but whilst many of them crave greater freedom they are also fearful of it. Fenechka is the outstanding example of this. She is the daughter of Nikolai former housekeeper, twenty years his junior, who on the death of her mother has a relationship with Nikolai bearing him a child. Fenechka is conscious of her own class status so when Arkady returns home from university she is not entirely certain that the love he shows her and her son is real or rather due to the influence of his friend and mentor Bazarov. Thus we have not only different generations but also differing classes struggling with these societal changes.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in own Nikolai's home. Pavel, Nikolai's brother who lives with them, is committed to the old system and wants to retain the old class system whereas Nikolai shows openness to the changes but still cherishes the comforts that he has become used to. All this means is that we see someone trying to hold onto the old but unjust system (Pavel), someone accepting change without aggression (Nikolai), and someone who is suffering from the system but doesn't want to grab the opportunity of freedom (Fenechka) all living together under the same roof.

There is very little action within this novel rather it's focus is on ideas which cover a number of spheres ranging from politics to nature to spirituality. But whilst there are conflicts the author also puts as emphasis on the importance of love in peoples' lives.

Now whilst there are some compelling characters and it gives an interesting insight into a particular period of Russian history both societal and in literature meaning that I don't doubt it is of historical significance yet I still found this novel an OK read rather than a compelling one. I would have preferred a little more action and for that reason it failed to really grab my imagination. It is at least a reasonably quick read littered with short chapters meaning that you didn't get too bogged down in it hence the relatively low rating. ( )
  PilgrimJess | Mar 12, 2020 |
Though the writing is very nice and some of the psychological insights are spot-on and moving, there simply isn't enough happening in this book. I don't mind a mild-mannered read but I definitely need more plot than Turgenev provides. Most of it moves along at a stately pace without much of an arc and almost no sense of forward momentum. Pleasant, for sure (Bazarov in particular is a very interesting character) but dare I say: rather boring on the whole. It springs to life briefly in the middle for a lively duel, then peters out. I actually had a hard time finishing the last ten pages. Part of the problem may be that I read it right after Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment" (which is one of the greatest books ever written) and Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina" (which, though soapy, is a real page-turner, even with its 8-page scene of peasants mowing the grass.) Dreamlike, lilting, passive and static, I would recommend this book to someone looking to lower their heart rate. ( )
  StephenCrome | Oct 13, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 94 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (162 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Turgenev, IvanAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Beckmann, MatthiasIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bein, KazimierzTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bukowsky, ElsePrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bukowsky, ElseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Edmonds, RosemaryTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Freeborn, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Garnett, ConstanceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Glad, Alf B.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guerney, Bernard GuilbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hodge, AlanForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Konkka, JuhaniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Makanowitzky, Barbara NormanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Muller, Herbert J.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nitschke, AnneloreÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reavy, GeorgeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saalborn, Arn.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thiergen, PeterAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Посвящается памяти
Виссариона Григорьевича Белинского
Dedicated to the memory of Vissarion Grigor'evich Belinsky
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"Well, Piotr, not in sight yet?" was the question asked on May the 20th, 1859, by a gentleman of a little over forty, in a dusty coat and checked trousers, who came out without his hat on to the low steps of the posting station at S—.
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1. Il tempo … vola qualche volta come un uccello e qualche volta striscia come un verme, ma l'uomo si sente bene specialmente quando nemmeno si accorge se passi presto o con lentezza.
2. Spesso è utile che nella vita ricompaia la mediocrità: rallenta le corde troppo tese, disperde i fumi della presunzione e dei cedimenti interiori, mostrando la loro stessa banalità.
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