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Väter und Söhne

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Russland im Jahr 1859. Der Zar geht auf gesellschaftliche Änderungen ein und schafft die Leibeigenschaft ab. Doch die junge Generation will weiterreichende Reformen. Iwan Turgenjew zeigt im Roman »Väter und Söhne« den Kampf um die »richtige« Gesellschaftsform für Russland anhand eines zeittypischen Generationskonflikts auf. Der Sohn eines Gutsbesitzers kommt gemeinsam mit Russland im Jahr 1859. Der Zar geht auf gesellschaftliche Änderungen ein und schafft die Leibeigenschaft ab. Doch die junge Generation will weiterreichende Reformen. Iwan Turgenjew zeigt im Roman »Väter und Söhne« den Kampf um die »richtige« Gesellschaftsform für Russland anhand eines zeittypischen Generationskonflikts auf. Der Sohn eines Gutsbesitzers kommt gemeinsam mit einem guten Freund und vielen neuen Ideen von der Universität zurück auf den Gutshof seines Vaters. Der Gutsbesitzer gehört der zwar freiheitlich beeinflussten, im Kern aber traditionsorientierten älteren Generation an. Er ist an der Einhaltung guter Sitten und der Achtung von Autoritäten orientiert. Auch einen Hang zur Romantik teilt er mit vielen Älteren. Die revolutionäre Jugend lehnt Tradition, Wohlverhalten und Romantik kategorisch ab. Es kommt zu heftigen Diskussionen. Iwan Turgenjew greift in »Väter und Söhne« mit feiner Beobachtungsgabe jenen Zeitgeist auf, der wenige Jahrzehnte später zur russischen Revolution führen sollte. Die Diskussion um »Väter und Söhne« verlief schon kurz nach der Veröffentlichung so heftig, dass Iwan Turgenjew Russland verließ.


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Russland im Jahr 1859. Der Zar geht auf gesellschaftliche Änderungen ein und schafft die Leibeigenschaft ab. Doch die junge Generation will weiterreichende Reformen. Iwan Turgenjew zeigt im Roman »Väter und Söhne« den Kampf um die »richtige« Gesellschaftsform für Russland anhand eines zeittypischen Generationskonflikts auf. Der Sohn eines Gutsbesitzers kommt gemeinsam mit Russland im Jahr 1859. Der Zar geht auf gesellschaftliche Änderungen ein und schafft die Leibeigenschaft ab. Doch die junge Generation will weiterreichende Reformen. Iwan Turgenjew zeigt im Roman »Väter und Söhne« den Kampf um die »richtige« Gesellschaftsform für Russland anhand eines zeittypischen Generationskonflikts auf. Der Sohn eines Gutsbesitzers kommt gemeinsam mit einem guten Freund und vielen neuen Ideen von der Universität zurück auf den Gutshof seines Vaters. Der Gutsbesitzer gehört der zwar freiheitlich beeinflussten, im Kern aber traditionsorientierten älteren Generation an. Er ist an der Einhaltung guter Sitten und der Achtung von Autoritäten orientiert. Auch einen Hang zur Romantik teilt er mit vielen Älteren. Die revolutionäre Jugend lehnt Tradition, Wohlverhalten und Romantik kategorisch ab. Es kommt zu heftigen Diskussionen. Iwan Turgenjew greift in »Väter und Söhne« mit feiner Beobachtungsgabe jenen Zeitgeist auf, der wenige Jahrzehnte später zur russischen Revolution führen sollte. Die Diskussion um »Väter und Söhne« verlief schon kurz nach der Veröffentlichung so heftig, dass Iwan Turgenjew Russland verließ.

30 review for Väter und Söhne

  1. 5 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    In the quiet, sleepy, out of the way areas of rural Russia under the autocratic Czars, during the mid nineteenth century, nothing happens, still reality will show its unpleasant dark aspects as other things appear, the catalyst , two university educated arrogant young men return home, they believe that their flame of light will transform the nation for the better . However the students still have a great deal to learn about the ancient land. Arkady Kirsanov under the influence of the bright Evge In the quiet, sleepy, out of the way areas of rural Russia under the autocratic Czars, during the mid nineteenth century, nothing happens, still reality will show its unpleasant dark aspects as other things appear, the catalyst , two university educated arrogant young men return home, they believe that their flame of light will transform the nation for the better . However the students still have a great deal to learn about the ancient land. Arkady Kirsanov under the influence of the bright Evgeny Bazarov studying to be a doctor but an ardent, passionate nihilist his real occupation ( destroy all and rebuild a better world), brings to his widowed father's Nicholas large estate this strange , unsettling person, he dominates the novel, in fact the writer's Ivan Turgenev's best fictional character, he himself acknowledged...Uncle Paul is a suave, debonair man, a former Don Juan, an unhappy love affair caused his exile from glittering Saint Petersburg , a supporter of the old customs , feels threatened by the new breeze. His amiable brother Nicholas is more tolerant, the inevitable strident arguments between Bazanov and Paul, the medical student,who is an enemy of ostentatious behavour, he is his own boss, about the future of society, gives this the spice the narrative needs, and will cause controversy in Russia, as both the supporters and the opponents of the status quo differ in their opinions of this story. Nicholas is an incompetent administrator of his farm, the serfs don't obey his orders, rumors that they will be set free soon, ( in 1861 , two years hence ) causes turmoil. And the embarrassed Nicholas has a surprise for his son, a baby brother, Mitya, born recently by his young attractive, shy mistress Fenichal, at 23, over twenty years younger than her lover, the daughter of his late housekeeper. Bazarov anxious, elderly parents await his return, these good people, adore their son, and only child, his father a retired army physician much decorated, the couple haven't seen him in three years...Bazanov has to leave the intolerable situation at his friend's home, his excuse, he must go back and visit his father and mother . Their boy pretends to be indifferent, but secretly is proud of and enjoys the parent's worship and every kindness, still he wants to be alone to do his medical experiments, that gives him contentment. This is the great author's most popular book and probably his best also, it contains both happiness and sorrow, as does life itself. An excellent, riveting glimpse into two families.

  2. 5 out of 5

    knig

    Fathers and Sons (FS) apparently pleased no one on in Russia on publication, and if not precisely ‘shocked’ the muchadumbre, then surely ruffled feathers and rubbed salt in fresh wounds: that, in any event, is the general promise in the blurb on the back cover of the book. Goody. I like a scandal better than the next person, for sure. So I tore into it with gusto. Alas, though. There is no scandal to be had here. I mean, not even remotely: not even a whiff of it. The big brouhaha seems to evolve Fathers and Sons (FS) apparently pleased no one on in Russia on publication, and if not precisely ‘shocked’ the muchadumbre, then surely ruffled feathers and rubbed salt in fresh wounds: that, in any event, is the general promise in the blurb on the back cover of the book. Goody. I like a scandal better than the next person, for sure. So I tore into it with gusto. Alas, though. There is no scandal to be had here. I mean, not even remotely: not even a whiff of it. The big brouhaha seems to evolve around the character of Bazarov, a self proclaimed nihilist, who does naught else but pontificate grandly throughout: rejects everything on principle (or perhaps as a principle) (as being outmoded, unscientific and stupid), but has no new platform to offer. As he puts it, ‘first lets destroy everything, raze it to the ground, and we’ll worry about re-building later’. Having said that, there is no razing to be done here either: FS is really very peaceful: the plot line is singularly simple (in fact, if it were any simpler, there’d be NO plot line). Two rather lazy graduates, Arcady and Bazarov, travel from one paternal home to another, back and forth, stopping off on the way at Nicholshoe, the estate of two sisters (Katya and Anna Odinskaya, who become the love interests respectively) which conveniently lies exactly on the ‘flight path’, thus ensuring a straightline trajectory back and forth, the main point of which is not to bother the reader too much with the intricacies of plot. Just for the sake of completeness, although this is a character driven novel, there isn’t an overabundance of those either. Arcady and Bazarov are conveniently ‘only’ children (a rather contrived coincidence at a time when there were just no stoppers on procreation). This of course is a ploy to create an chamber ensemble where philosophical ideas can flow purely and purposefully without dilution from multiple voices. So, having set up this simple mis-en-scene, Turgenev sets on to the nitty gritty then. Bazarov isn’t going to shock anyone today. In fact, his raison d’etre is practically the building blocks of our modern ‘yoof’: rebels without a cause. Bazarov (who did have a cause) has, in fact, been reincarnated in that iconic trope of our times, the ‘Kevin’. This might very well be a Britishism, but everyone will know what I mean. But why was Bazarov so shocking back then? Clearly, I can’t let this go. I mean, Bazarov shocked a whole nation in 1861, what kind of apathetic reader can let this slide by without further investigation if they don’t know why? Deep internet trawls reveal a background of a humiliated intelligentsia on the back of the loss of the Crimean War, aware Russia has been left behind in the European technological, ideological and ‘business development’ stakes, and deeply split on how to fix this. The Slavophiles, whose Bakunin style popular concept of negation and denouncement of Alexander II reforms (including the emancipation of serfs in 1861) vs. The Westernisers, (Turgenev amongst them), who, although operating without a clear and consistent political doctrine, support all things western in their search for progression. The former view Bazarov as an insulting caricature of their cause, and the latter view him as a dirty rotten nihilistic scoundrel. Meanwhile, the West view him as the first proper literary nihilist and take to Turgenev like a house on fire. Bazarov of course is only a half baked nihilist. He throws over his ideology at the alter of Madame Odinskaya’s feet, asks his mother for superstitious style old world blessings and engages in a positively Romantic style duel with Arkady’s uncle. Academics are having a field day, as we speak, at tracing the Byronic influences on his character. The Slovophile vs. Westerniser match off is fascinating. This isn’t merely a semantic stand-off, a few after dinner soundbites being bandied about over brandy and a cigar. Now that I know about it, I can spot the elephant in the room practically in every chapter. At one point, Arkady and Bazarov praise Anna for her excellent use of Russian. This is a passing sentence, and its easy to just gloss over it, but ..really....exactly what language, I wonder, should Anna Odinskaya, a Russian aristocrat, born, raised and living in Russia, be speaking, if not Russian? Well, apparently, French. Knock me over with a feather, but those Russian aristocrats, from Catherine the Great’s time (circa 1799) to late nineteenth century got so big for their britches they started parleying in French from cradle to grave and couldn’t even speak their own language!! Of all, I say, all the high falutin’, sycophantic, preposterous things you could do, if this just doesn’t take the cake. (Well, I know the English did it too, but a full 1000 years earlier. After William of Normandy conquered and unified England in 1066, the court spoke French for the next 300 years. But, thats because the Normans were French to begin with!). My point is, in a situation like this, a Slavophile vs Westerniser disagreement might just take on slightly larger proportions than just a semantic joust. One thing neither side disagreed on was the need to free the serfs. (Which partially happened in 1861). Russian serfs, from what I can gather, were little better off than slaves. They were, in fact slaves. Tied to the estate, forbidden to marry outside the estate, or move out of the estate, propelled into wars by their ‘masters’, toiling, unpaid, all day long.....yup, definitely slaves. This agreement to free the serfs, though should not be taken as a carte blanche acknowledgement of an intrinsic serf worth: on the contrary, both sides are united in a blanket wave of derision and general despising of the peasants. FS is littered with condescending and derogatory remarks about the serfs, who are invariably being flogged for being fools, drunkards and thieves. Having said that, they are also an integral part of country living, in the way Mamie rules the roost at Tara in Gone with the Wind. Midway through the novel Turgenev does a very naughty love quadrangle turn and twist worthy of a Shakesperean aficionado. Everybody falls in love with everyone else before they shakily settle into the ultimate equilibrium. The Bazarov/Anna Odinskaya link is easily recognisable although none the less sad for it: two cynics who are too jaded for each other. So then, thats for background. How does Turgenev do, with all of this? I got to shout it loud and clear from the mountaintop now: he delivers! I bawled like a baby twice in this reading, and thats saying something: I can’t remember the last time I had a teary eye. It was Bazarov ‘wot done it both times: first when he left his parents after only a three day soujourn, and in the end.....(you know what I mean). So this novel was shocking, in the end: I was shocked at how easily it moved me. I even had a moment of self doubt: was I going soft in the head? Well, much to my relief, I gather Turgenev elicits similar responses from many a reader, and in particular his contemporaries. Apparently Flaubert was astounded by him, George Sand looked up to him, James was influenced by him and only, apparently Meredith matches his pathos in terms of the ‘dying scene’ in terms of contemporaries. I haven’t read any Meredith whatsoever. Its looking like Egoist and the Ordeal of Richard Feverel might be next.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Steven Godin

    I had some doubts upon reading Turgenev for the first time, could he really stand up with the likes of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky?, simple answer, yes. Fathers and Sons, although not on an epic level in terms of length, does an authentic and realistic job of presenting an account of upper class 19th century Russian provincial life, and indeed it doesn't surprise me he gained greater respect in some parts in regards to the two other Russian greats. Turgenev arguably had better popularity due to his I had some doubts upon reading Turgenev for the first time, could he really stand up with the likes of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky?, simple answer, yes. Fathers and Sons, although not on an epic level in terms of length, does an authentic and realistic job of presenting an account of upper class 19th century Russian provincial life, and indeed it doesn't surprise me he gained greater respect in some parts in regards to the two other Russian greats. Turgenev arguably had better popularity due to his deeper humanity, where the psychological and emotional complexities of his principal characters are draw from first introduction as having a natural inherent intelligence. Whereas the previous two tend to often use a trauma, crisis, or inner conflict within. Although criticized by his fellow liberals, it was in fact Turgenev, who, from his death bed persuaded Tolstoy to carry on writing. This novel takes place in the 1860's, the Napoleonic war is receding, and a new chapter has begun. The dominant theme is all in it's title, a transition from one generation to the next, two friends from university, Arkady and Barzarov and are returning home to their parents country estates, the infuriating Barzarov is a headstrong, overly confident young man, who believes in nihilism, wanting to tear everything down, to start over again from this rotten place. Whereas Arkady is more delicate, and feels more passion for the people and world around him. Both sets of parents deeply love their children, that's made perfectly clear, and are acceptant in their views. But problems arise in Arkady's uncle Pavel, who doesn't take to Barzarov, on both a personal and philosophical level, after coming to stay at Arkady's home during the days following graduation. Love is explored as the novel progresses, both would become acquainted with a young widow, Madame Anna Odintzov, and her sister Katya, who plays piano, whilst also tapping into the free-floating testosterones of both. Like most older novels, there always seems to be a duel, and this is no different, it still amazes me at how the smallest things end up kicking off two individuals wanting to blow holes in each other. Maybe Turgenev was thinking of his own once challenged stand off with Tolstoy. Turgenev contrasts the two young men very well, both friends, but with completely different mindsets, while he leaves it to his readers to see the other parties and ordinary villagers in their own light. He portrays the parents poignant and sufferable states in a compassionate and dignified manner, and Barzazov in particular being bothered by an inner unhappiness for failing to see the values of artistic creation in other peoples lives. There are crushing disappointments and humiliations that are waiting in the wings for the young fellows, generally bought on by their weakness of knowledge for adult life, regardless how clever they thing they are, it does help in dealing with complex matters of the heart. While the two friends also come close to fisticuffs over Bazarov's constant cynicism. Fathers and Sons had left me with a sense of quietly observing over the different paths of both Arkady and Barzarov, and Turgenev has enabled me to see with better eyes the love and appreciation between father and son, It is this profound vitality in Turgenev's characters, using a clear uncluttered dialogue that carry his novel to the heights of classic Russian Literature, with most complete and touching sincerity.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    874. Отцы и дѣти = Fathers and Sons = Fathers and Children, Ivan Turgenev Fathers and Sons (Russian: «Отцы и дети»; Ottsy i deti), also translated more literally as Fathers and Children, is an 1862 novel by Ivan Turgenev, and ties with A Nest of Gentlefolk for the repute of being his best novel. Major characters: Yevgeny Vasilevich Bazarov – A nihilist and medical student. Arkady Nikolaevich Kirsanov – A recent graduate of St. Petersburg University and friend of Bazarov. Nikolai Petrovich Kirsanov 874. Отцы и дѣти = Fathers and Sons = Fathers and Children, Ivan Turgenev Fathers and Sons (Russian: «Отцы и дети»; Ottsy i deti), also translated more literally as Fathers and Children, is an 1862 novel by Ivan Turgenev, and ties with A Nest of Gentlefolk for the repute of being his best novel. Major characters: Yevgeny Vasilevich Bazarov – A nihilist and medical student. Arkady Nikolaevich Kirsanov – A recent graduate of St. Petersburg University and friend of Bazarov. Nikolai Petrovich Kirsanov – A landlord, a liberal democrat, Arkady’s father. Pavel Petrovich Kirsanov – Nikolai’s brother and a bourgeois with aristocratic pretensions, who prides himself on his refinement but, like his brother, is reform-minded. Vasily Ivanovich Bazarov – Bazarov’s father, a retired army surgeon, and a small countryside land/serf holder. Arina Vlasevna Bazarova – Bazarov’s mother. A very traditional woman of the 15th-century Moscovy style aristocracy: a pious follower of Orthodox Christianity, woven with folk tales and falsehoods. Anna Sergevna Odintsova – A wealthy widow who entertains the nihilist friends at her estate. Katerina (Katya) Sergeevna Lokteva – The younger sister of Anna. She lives comfortably with her sister but lacks confidence, finding it hard to escape Anna Sergeevna's shadow. Feodosya (Fenechka) Nikolayevna – The daughter of Nikolai’s late housekeeper, with whom he has fallen in love and fathered a child out of wedlock. Viktor Sitnikov – A pompous and foolhardy friend of Bazarov who joins populist ideals and groups. Like Arkady, he is heavily influenced by Bazarov in his ideals. Avdotya (Evdoksia) Nikitishna Kukshina – An emancipated woman who lives in the town of X. Kukshina is independent but rather eccentric and incapable as a proto-feminist, despite her potential. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: سال 1977 میلادی عنوان: پدران و پسران؛ نویسنده: ایوان تورگنیف؛ مترجم: مهری آهی؛ ترجمه از متن روسی؛ تهران، چاپ نخست 1334؛ در 333 ص؛ چاپ دوم و سوم در 356 ص؛ چاپ دیگر: تهران، بنگاه ترجمه ونشر، 1351؛ در 356 ص؛ چاپ چهارم 1356؛ زیر نظر: احسان یارشاطر؛ چاپ دیگر: وزارات فرهنگ و آموزش عالی، علمی فرهنگی؛ 1365، در 1365؛ چاپ دیگر 1375؛ چاپ ششم علمی فرهنگی 1388 در 298 ص، شابک: 9789646205963؛ چاپ هشتم 1392؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان روسی - سده 19 م مترجم: مهدی سعادت؛ تهران، شقایق، 1364؛ در در 351 و هشت ص؛ چاپ دوم 1367؛ چاپ دیگر: تهران، درنا، 1368؛ در در 351 و هشت ص؛ مترجم: الهام ربیعی؛ تهران، نشر فرمهر، 1396؛ در 292 ص؛ شابک: 9786009732821؛ تورگنیف (زندگی: از سال 1818 میلادی تا سال 1883 میلادی)، از رهبران مکتب ناتورالیسم روسیه بودند. در دوران جوانی ایشان، مکتب رمانتیزم در روسیه رواج و شهرت کامل داشت. اشعار ایشان پیش از سال 1840 میلادی تقلیدی از دیگر شاعران رمانتیک آن زمان بود. پس از سال 1840 میلادی، ایشان دست از افکار رمانتیک خویش برداشتند. با نوشتن داستانهای ملاکین، اعیان و اشراف، به شرح زندگی رعایا، و دهقانان روس پرداختند. رمان پدران و پسران که از شاهکارهای ایشانست، موضوعی بسیار ساده دارد، رمان در سال 1862 میلادی برای نخستین بار چاپ شده است. موضوع داستان عبارتست از: نفاق و جدال، بین دو نسل پیر و جوان، و طبقات مختلف اجتماع روسیه ی آن دوران. در این داستان پدران نماد افراد محافظه کار و سنت گرایی هستند، که در آنها اصلاحات یا به کندی صورت میگیرد، یا اصلاً وجود ندارد؛ اما پسران که کانون توجه نویسنده است، افرادی بسیار رادیکال هستند که شخص قهرمان داستان، به نام: بازارف، که پیرو مکتب نهیلیسم، و ماده گرایی مفرط است، در جدال با مکتب مخالف خود، یعنی پدران، کلنجار می‌روند. نکته جالب این داستان مناظره‌ هایی ست، که بازارف، با افراد مخالف نظریه ی خود، گاه با خونسردی، و گاه نیز آنها را برمی‌آشوبد. ا. شربیانی

  5. 5 out of 5

    Praveen

    Fathers feel that they now belong to bygone times and sons feel that they have learned enough to indoctrinate new scientific theories and philosophies to the fathers. This happens today and this happened in this realistic classical work, based on the Russian society of mid 19th century. The story begins with two brothers. First one, Nikolai Petrovitch, who had lost his wife, but there remained a sense of well-spent life, as his son was growing up under his eyes and, second Pavel Petrovitch, on t Fathers feel that they now belong to bygone times and sons feel that they have learned enough to indoctrinate new scientific theories and philosophies to the fathers. This happens today and this happened in this realistic classical work, based on the Russian society of mid 19th century. The story begins with two brothers. First one, Nikolai Petrovitch, who had lost his wife, but there remained a sense of well-spent life, as his son was growing up under his eyes and, second Pavel Petrovitch, on the contrary, was a solitary bachelor, who was entering upon a certain kind of indefinite twilight period of regrets that are akin to hopes, and hopes that are akin to regrets, when youth is over, while old age has not yet come. On one fine day of May 1859, Nikolai receives his son Arkady, who has just finished his graduation from University of Petersberg. “So here you are, a graduate at last, and come home again,” said Nikolai Petrovitch, touching Arkady now on the shoulder, now on the knee. ‘At last!’. Here comes the most interesting character of this novel Mr. Bazarov, who is a friend of Arkady and has returned with him. He stays at the estate of Arkady’s father for some time before going to his own family place. Bazarov a very clever and intelligent young man who has a strong sense of conviction and aggression about his thoughts and words. He scorns art, family life, and women. He is representative of the theory of Nihilism. I did not know if this concept of nihilism was already popular at that time in Russia or was made popular by Turgenev through this book. Then I learned that the epithet of nihilism was in use since 1829 and this book only extended its interpretation. Bazarov does not believe in anything. He only believes in himself. He is cynical about his love affairs and he does not at all care about the paternal tenderness. One day he sees the father of Arkady reading Pushkin and he says to Arkady.. ‘The day before yesterday I saw him reading Pushkin’, Bazarov was continuing meanwhile.‘Explain to him, please, that that is no earthly use. He is not a boy you know; it’s time to throw up that rubbish. And what an idea to be romantic at this time of day! Give him something sensible to read.’ ‘What ought I to give him ?’Asked Arkady. ‘Oh, I think Buchner’s Stoff and raft to begin with.’ Bazarov is full of scientific theories and he has plans for the mankind and for lower classes but Pavel Petrovitch, uncle of Arkady, slowly inculcates the vehement feeling of contempt to Bazarov, because of his nihilist ideology, which somewhere in the middle of the story, takes the form of a very unnecessary and egoistic clash in the form of a duel between them. This classic story moves ahead in style and covers multiple themes and contexts. I came to know that Turgenev was an enthusiastic hunter and it was his experience in the woods of his native province that supplied material for ‘A Sportsman's Sketches’, the book that had first brought him a reputation.I have not read it yet, however, I witnessed a different sort of hunting abilities of the author in this book. He has hunted the prevailing belief and order through his character of Bazarov, whom he has made so strong that all existing philosophies die away in front of him. You may not like him for his rudeness and crudity but you would certainly get impressed by his astonishing brilliance. I got a wonderful picture of Russian society, of its aristocracy, of its middle class and of its peasantry life. The content of this book is very rich in its prose and style. I read two different translations of this work. I enjoyed both. I found nothing unnecessary in the plot, one thing complemented the other. Conversation among the characters are extremely lively and at those places, I was nearly absorbed with the characters and ambiance. Though he has not created any dominated woman character here, the fancy towards young girls is well depicted. Conflict of personality in male characters and struggle against 'the clutches of circumstances’ among female characters can be felt at many places. As a reader, I can not be more satisfied when I find the characters of a book so real and engrossing that they go directly into me and get embedded somewhere within me with their own viewpoints and tenets. I would very much like to read more of this great writer, I have already enlisted some of his major works.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tim Wagner

    If you want to read a great Russian novel, but your wrists are to weak for Karenina or Brothers K, this is your jam. It's almost allegorical in its deployment of the characters' various philosophies, but they're so human it's like watching Chekhov play across the page. For a book written in the mid-late 19th century, it's amazingly relevant: a pithy study of conservativism, liberalism, radicalism, quietism, and filial love and rebellion. The bad-tempered anarchist, Bazarov, is a character for th If you want to read a great Russian novel, but your wrists are to weak for Karenina or Brothers K, this is your jam. It's almost allegorical in its deployment of the characters' various philosophies, but they're so human it's like watching Chekhov play across the page. For a book written in the mid-late 19th century, it's amazingly relevant: a pithy study of conservativism, liberalism, radicalism, quietism, and filial love and rebellion. The bad-tempered anarchist, Bazarov, is a character for the ages. I bought copies for my dad and both my brothers.

  7. 4 out of 5

    İntellecta

    This book is a real classic of russian literature.The language is understandable and psychological depth. The main character Basarov is the first nihilist of world literature, and rejects all conventional moral concepts. Even in love, he sees nothing but the helplessness of lonely people and distances himself from her. When he finally falls in love, his worldview collapses. Also next to the main character you will meet interesting characters and it's just fun to read this book. Fathers and Sons" This book is a real classic of russian literature.The language is understandable and psychological depth. The main character Basarov is the first nihilist of world literature, and rejects all conventional moral concepts. Even in love, he sees nothing but the helplessness of lonely people and distances himself from her. When he finally falls in love, his worldview collapses. Also next to the main character you will meet interesting characters and it's just fun to read this book. Fathers and Sons"is one of the best-known Russian social novels, which portrays the sensitivities of Russia in the mid-nineteenth century very vividly. Absolutelly recomendable.

  8. 5 out of 5

    MJ Nicholls

    Tremendous. Forget the patchy, barely coherent A Hero of Our Time. This is your pre-Tolstoy, pre-Dostoevsky (almost—excusing a decade or two) Russian masterpiece. Do you want to be a nihilist with a casual interest in botany and medicine? Do you sneer at aristocratic values but have the hots for a milf with a vassal-soaked estate? Do you treat your father’s house like a hotel, and only pay fleeting three-year visits, during which you torment your poor mother and her servants? Do you want to snog Tremendous. Forget the patchy, barely coherent A Hero of Our Time. This is your pre-Tolstoy, pre-Dostoevsky (almost—excusing a decade or two) Russian masterpiece. Do you want to be a nihilist with a casual interest in botany and medicine? Do you sneer at aristocratic values but have the hots for a milf with a vassal-soaked estate? Do you treat your father’s house like a hotel, and only pay fleeting three-year visits, during which you torment your poor mother and her servants? Do you want to snog your best friend’s father’s girlfriend because you like her cute bastard? Then, my nonfriends, Bazarov is the bloke for you. Richard Freeborn’s translation makes use of British slang for the chummy moments, i.e. “mate,” which is arguably better than “dude,” but only by a whisper. Apart from that, the excellence of Ivan’s best one shines through. These gimps on the cover are piggishly apt.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Roy Lotz

    He has no faith in princeeples, only in frogs. Turgenev has a reputation of being a novelists’ novelist—admired by such fastidious readers as Gustave Flaubert, Henry James, and Joseph Conrad—and now I can see why. Though quite different in temperament, he reminds me of Jane Austen or E.M. Forster in his seamless mastery of technique and his delicate touch. Apart from the epilogue (a 19th century staple), this novel makes do with very little of the cranking plot mechanics used by so many Victorian He has no faith in princeeples, only in frogs. Turgenev has a reputation of being a novelists’ novelist—admired by such fastidious readers as Gustave Flaubert, Henry James, and Joseph Conrad—and now I can see why. Though quite different in temperament, he reminds me of Jane Austen or E.M. Forster in his seamless mastery of technique and his delicate touch. Apart from the epilogue (a 19th century staple), this novel makes do with very little of the cranking plot mechanics used by so many Victorian novelists. Rather, Turgenev weaves naturalistic scenes together in such a way that the plot, though orderly indeed, is tactfully concealed, like a skinny mannequin under a billowing dress. But what is most impressive about this book is that, amid the sweetly flowing prose and the keen descriptions, Turgenev has inserted one of literature’s great characters: Bazarov, the nihilist (a term he popularized). On the one hand, Bazarov is the quintessential insufferable college graduate, pointing out the flaws in society without suggesting any remedies. On the other hand, unlike most of these brave young souls, Bazarov is actually a man of genius with an oddly compelling worldview. At the very least he has charisma. And history has only made Bazarov more fascinating. He is, by turns, a proto-Bolshevik and a proto-existentialist—calling for revolution in the midst of the absurdity of existence. Turgenev must have been quite the observer to so effectively anticipate the political and intellectual revolutionaries of the coming century. Turgenev’s winning touch is his ability to make the reader switch sympathies. At times Bazarov is little more than an arrogant lout; yet at other moments he is admirable and almost heroic; and at still others he is pitiable and deeply human. The same goes for every other character. Arcady’s uncle, Paul, is exemplary in this respect: a man of elegance, tact, and civility, who is at times commendable and at times an outrageous buffoon. Few novelists have such an prodigious ability to render complex yet believable personalities. In sum, the very fact that Turgenev wrote a novel about generational conflict that managed to deeply offend both fathers and sons shows the truth of his portrayals. This is a classic in every sense of the word.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jan-Maat

    Ivan Turgenev's 1862 novel Fathers & Children is a striking political story of intra-generational conflict and resolution set in provincial Russia during the late spring and early summer of 1859 (ie shortly before the emancipation of the serfs). Arkady Kirsanov returns to his father's estate with his friend and idol Bazarov (and so a father figure in several ways), the two idle about there and in a couple of other places before the novel ends extremely peacefully (view spoiler)[ I laugh (vie Ivan Turgenev's 1862 novel Fathers & Children is a striking political story of intra-generational conflict and resolution set in provincial Russia during the late spring and early summer of 1859 (ie shortly before the emancipation of the serfs). Arkady Kirsanov returns to his father's estate with his friend and idol Bazarov (and so a father figure in several ways), the two idle about there and in a couple of other places before the novel ends extremely peacefully (view spoiler)[ I laugh (view spoiler)[ "However passionate, sinful, rebellious the heart buried in this grave, the flowers growing on it look out at us serenely with their innocent eyes: they tell us not only of that eternal peace, that great peace of 'indifferent' nature; they tell us also of eternal reconciliation and life ever lasting..." (hide spoiler)] (hide spoiler)] Turgenev was the first international success of Russian literature, this novel was translated into German as soon as it came out in Russian an English translation followed within a few years. He spent much of his life in western Europe - he was in Paris during the 1848 revolution, and he began this novel while on holiday on the Isle of Wight. He was admired by Henry James and by Joseph Conrad, though during his own life he was relatively controversial in Russia for political reasons. If Dostoevsky wants to grab his reader by the throat, and Tolstoy to clobber the reader over the head, then Turgenev preferred to try to be subtle. the reason why I was driven (view spoiler)[ or maybe compelled, forced, or obliged (hide spoiler)] to reading Fathers & Children (frequently Fathers & sons) by Hermione Lee's Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life, Fitzgerald, naturally, was a fan of Turgenev (writers often are, readers perhaps less so), the only Turgenev the library had was Fathers & Children, (view spoiler)[ and the county catalogue showed me that there was barely anything else by Turgenev in the entire county from shining sea to glistening motorway (hide spoiler)] I had read it before so I was some way from being enthusiastic about reading it again, as it happened since I had creatively misremembered quite a bit of the novel - condensing some parts and stretching others - reading it again was more fun that I had expected. I tried to read with imagined Fitzgerald spectacles on. The first thing that I noticed was how comfortable Turgenev was to break off his narration and to give brief histories of his characters - at only point apparently a speech that Arkady declaims to Barazov, but it is in the same voice as the omniscient narrator. It is a confident move by the author, and one which helps compress the text - revealing the same facts through conversation would take longer - and this is a short book - around 160 pages. Realism for Turgenev is a technique that does not constrain his style, there is a marvellous movement when after a tense and emotional conversation between Bazarov and Odintsova (view spoiler)[ other forms of conversation are possible (hide spoiler)] , Odintsova is left alone and as she sinks into thought "Her braid became undone and curled around her shoulder like a dark snake" (p.80) this is pure symbolism. It is an economical and geometrical text, there are three locations (four if you include 'the town') the houses of Kirsanov, Odintsova, and Bazarov senior. And all of these are groups of rooms or room like spaces in which there are either certain people or certain activities take place. This gave me the impression of a book about place and finding one's place -appropriately enough for a novel centring on two young men returning from university, their wanderings and wonderings show that this is a Goldilocks novel - where is their seat? Their (view spoiler)[(marital) (hide spoiler)] bed? The porridge that really satisfies them? A essay in this volume prefers to see the connection with the story of the Prodigal Son. That was probably the most I was able to imagine with Fitzgerald spectacles on. The Title Generally this novel has been known as Fathers and sons which focuses attention on the two sons and their father's, Fathers and Children is the more precise translation and that shifts the focus to include Odintsova, her sister Katya and their absent (dead) father. Including him the fathers are all flawed or insufficient in different ways and it is natural that they will be replaced by the children. In this process of generational change we see a range of relationships from conflict to accommodation to co-option. a duel This novel includes a duel - and duels are always great fun for writers. On the one hand they provide a ready source of drama and tension on the other an opportunity to subvert the readers' expectations of drama and tension. It is particularly nice to see how Turgenev handles it here in relation to his ending. this edition It is a relatively recent translation that does not quite provide the reader with death by footnotes, but in addition it offers a range of secondary materials including letters to and from the author (about thirty pages) and some contemporary criticism (another thirty pages) - both of which are interesting from the point of view of the moral panic the book caused in its day - but also tertiary materials - a selection of 20th century criticism and analysis (around 180 pages). All of which completely overwhelms the novel at a mere 160 ish pages - from which I learn that a Norton Critical Edition is a case of a slim novel trapped inside a fat book. Points that interested me from the criticism was David Lowe's discussion of Turgenev's relationship with his illegitimate daughter Pauline -pp240-247. Turgenev discovered her when she was eight on his mother's estate in Russia (view spoiler)[ the girl's mother had been packed off to the city for her immoral behaviour in becoming pregnant by the mistress's son (hide spoiler)] , from where he took her to France and sent her to boarding schools, later he was surprised that she shared none of his interests and their relationship was distinctly bad tempered. Lowe argues that Bazarov is mostly based on on Turgenev's daughter( which suggests an extra significance to the novel's title Fathers and Children, unlike Bazarov (view spoiler)[ Turgenev was not able to kill her off so easily (hide spoiler)] . Nina Nikitina (pp 247-254) discusses the manuscript to the novel which surfaced only in 1988 in London and was sent back to Russia (apparently without full military honours) there are in the region of 10,000 differences between the manuscript and the printed edition. There were a couple of pieces by Jane Costlow that I liked Odintsova's Bath and Barazov's dogs (pp289-299) in which she shows how Turgenev depicts Bazarov as Actaeon ripped apart for his political and sexual transgressions - it's a nice example of how Turgenev is maybe over subtle (view spoiler)[ or if you prefer he is just right and some readings are over forced as though they were rhubarb (hide spoiler)] and Odintsova as woman alone in Fathers and Children (pp 304-317) in which she explains the significance of the character's name from Odin the Russian for One, in the sense of a woman on her own rather than The One of romantic fiction. Elizabeth Cheresh Allen caught my waning attention with Time in the Novel (pp 300-303) in which she shows characters exist with separate temporal fixations - most of the elder generation to the Past, Odintsova to the present, and Bazarov to the future, this renders them all fragile and breakable. Other essays pick up on the use of language, the novel as an Acardian story, Hegel and dialetic, scientific metaphor, and that this is a novel in which passionate romantic love is something dangerous and in which we see the triumph of domestic, family love. I remember once either hearing or reading something in which various people were asked if they preferred the writings of Dostoevsky or Tolstoy - the premise being that all people are either Tolstoyians or Dostoevskian, rather as in Isaiah Berlin's essay 'The hedgehog and the Fox', eventually the interviewer came to Dennis Healey - then a retired politician who replied that he preferred Turgenev.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Aubrey

    My main issue with this book: too short. An odd thing to think of when the too short object in question is a Russian novel concerning cultural upheaval and aristocracy and all sorts of young ones running around screeching newfangled ideas at the top of their lungs, but 'tis true. A while back, someone somewhere on Goodreads coined the term 'soap opera with brains', a literature type that hasn't popped up in my reading since The Age of Reason but can be (much more enjoyably, I dare say) applied h My main issue with this book: too short. An odd thing to think of when the too short object in question is a Russian novel concerning cultural upheaval and aristocracy and all sorts of young ones running around screeching newfangled ideas at the top of their lungs, but 'tis true. A while back, someone somewhere on Goodreads coined the term 'soap opera with brains', a literature type that hasn't popped up in my reading since The Age of Reason but can be (much more enjoyably, I dare say) applied here with the highest accuracy. Amidst all the generation gaps and work force revolutions and 1860's Russia, there's quite a bit of drama that wears its intellectual trappings well enough to guarantee my enjoyment. And let me tell you, it is a rare thing indeed that guarantees my enjoyment when it comes to lighthearted webs of relationships both familial and romantic, so major kudos to the novel for that (sorry Turgenev, you're probably rolling in your grave at that last part, but it's true! and i'm grateful! you should be happy about that!). Besides the unexpectedly delightful people with their unexpectedly delightful issues in dealing with each other, there are, of course, the ideas and their tectonic shifts, fully embodied in the young contorting themselves in every shape imaginable in their effort to get their old off their collective back. The word 'nihilism' gets thrown around quite a bit, but is rather a red herring if there ever was one that evokes more of the 'threat' Russia thought it was facing in the 1860's than the true stance lauded by Bazarov and Arkady, sons to their respective fanciful, 'romantic' fathers. Simply put, I understood both sides in both their positive and negative lights, and found their interactions and stances fascinating if not especially conducive to my choosing a side. Call it a preference for a mix and match rather than supposed neutrality, it both sounds better and makes more sense. Finally, Bazarov. Like him, hate him, tie him to a tree and run far away, he won't leave you alone until you engage with him on some level, and then you'll never escape. There's nothing to more to say on that note. However, as mentioned, the book was much too short. No sooner had I gotten a grasp on all the characters and their respective personal doctrines and settled in for the long run of social machinations both entertaining and insightful (Middlemarch, anyone?) boom! Climax, descent, conclusion, authorial note discussing the scandalized reception of the novel (if you can believe it) seven years after publication. Not cool, Turgenev. It's not fair of you to build up so well in such an intriguing manner, and then lop off all that hard won story potential and call it a day. But, you seemed pretty cool, so I will forgive you for it, and award four stars for what you did give us. The reader is ready to take offense: he has to clear his own path rather than follow an established one. "Why should I trouble myself?" the reader involuntarily begins to think—"books exist for distraction not for breaking on'es head; and what would it cost the author to say how I should think about a particular figure—what he himself thinks of him!" -Apropos of Fathers and Sons Also, I can't fault a guy who writes stuff like the above too much. I just can't.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ivana Books Are Magic

    This novel opens up with one son returning to his father. The son in question is newly graduate Arkady Kirsanov, who returns home accompanied by his nihilist friend Bazarov. Arkady’s father Nikolai welcomes his son and his friend Bazarov with open arms. Nikolai is naturally happy to have his son back, doing his best to make these young men feel welcome. However, the new philosophical system these young man advocate causes Nikolai to feel uneasy. What kind of philosophical system is it? Well, tha This novel opens up with one son returning to his father. The son in question is newly graduate Arkady Kirsanov, who returns home accompanied by his nihilist friend Bazarov. Arkady’s father Nikolai welcomes his son and his friend Bazarov with open arms. Nikolai is naturally happy to have his son back, doing his best to make these young men feel welcome. However, the new philosophical system these young man advocate causes Nikolai to feel uneasy. What kind of philosophical system is it? Well, that would be nihilism and these two young man are very anxious to advocate it. As anxious and willing to prove they can change the world with their ideas as only young men can be. Their actions are not always in accordance with their beliefs, as the novel will show. In many instances, their belief in nihilism would be put to test. If Candide was a critique of a philosophical system that is unrealistically positive, Fathers and Sons is a critique of one that is overly negative. This ideology of negative will be questioned in this novel. The ideological advocate of this negative system in this novel is Bazarov. He is a nihilist, a person who does not believe in anything. It is obvious that Arkady Kirsanov is heavily influenced by him. Moreover, Kirsanov is not the only one since Bazarov seems to possess a fair amount of charisma. People react strongly to him, either positively or negatively. The title of the novel ‘Father and Sons’ captures very well the essence of this novel. This novel describes the unavoidable gap that exists between parents and children. Moreover, it describes the gap caused by time itself, the gap between different time periods that is not always as easy to cross as we might think. Tennessee Williams said that time is the greatest difference between two places and in many ways, he was quite right. At different times in our lives, we carry a different energy with us and even when we see things in the same way, we don’t approach them in the same way- if you know what I mean. Anyhow, the gap tackled in this novel is not only the one existing between generations but also between different levels of society. I might even say that it is about the gap between the sexes. This novel is all about differences, how we perceive them, what do we do about them and why. It The differences that inevitably exist between classes, between sexes, between characters, between souls and even the differences between the beautiful and complex land that Russia is. We learn about these things by following these two young men, both of them are, because of their views (and possibly also their youth) coming into conflict with their parents and the world that surrounds them. They are very different but in many ways, also quite similar. The joys of youth! Don’t we all miss it sometimes? That nervous energy? That constant urge to set things going, to make a difference, to change the world? It is as revitalizing as it is tiring, youth is, perhaps that is why it can’t hold its balance forver. Youth has its charms and so do these two. Both young men are complex and well developed characters. However, in novel, just like in their relationship, Bazarov is the one that dominates and sets things in motion. Kirstanov keeps us, he has his personality and ideas, but in terms of philosophy, it is clear that he is mainly copying his nihilist friend. If nothing, Bazarov has a great influence over him! No wonder, for as I said, there is something attractive about this character. It is clear that Bazarov is the one that really tries to live by his not-beliefs (or should I say beliefs?). Not believing in anything is also a kind of belief, isn't it? An atheist believes that there is no God and what is that but a belief? If you have a belief, then you have a dogma…and before you know it, there comes a belief system. We have all changed our belief systems over time. We believe one thing, that something happens that makes us see things in a new light. Bazarov is so sure of his no- belief system, but he is falling into his own trap. If you have dogma then you have a religion or something similar to it. Take for example communism, it is a sort of religion (or ideology if you will), in many counties it even mimics religious rituals. To know something for sure is very difficult, so people cling to beliefs- and beliefs are dangerous for obvious reasons- they may and may not be true. However, what other choice do we have? Anarchism? We all develop our belief systems, whatever we might call them, and often they’re not as constant as we would like them to be…. but really why we are so stubborn in instating that answers to changeable situations must be constant? Human nature, I guess. There was a lot of philosophical unrest (or searching for an ideal philosophy) in the recent history of mankind and this novel is really wonderful at capturing that. It really has some lessons to teach us, the modern readers. Many of its topics are something that I still find just as fascinating as when I first read this novel and I’m sure they will continue to fascinate me. In that sense, the novel really feels relevant and up to date. The way this novel is written really appeals to me. It asks rather than answers questions. I liked that the writer does not want to lead us to any conclusion, but rather just presents questions that we can answer for ourselves. He does that in an intelligent and easy way. Truly, this novel is a joy to read. The novel is excellent when it comes to portraying the clash of philosophies, but it does not end there. The gap between the generations and its consequences is well described as are the difficulties and complexities of parent- child relationship. Well, as the title would suggest, a connection between father and son is an important theme. It could also symbolize the relationship between various philosophies, one of constant challenge and dispute. There is another kind of relationship that is part of novel’s plot and that is one between a man and a woman. So, romantic love finds its way into the story and it is not out of place there. It is fortunate that the women showed in this novel are not stereotyped. They are as well portrayed as man. In particular, I liked the character of Odintsova. In addition, the way the writer portrays all the various social groups reminds me of other great Russian novelists. This is not an action-packed novel; it is a philosophical one. Hence it is more oriented towards the characters and their psychological development. In addition, it is a social study of sort, portraying the society as well as the individual. Fathers and Son is a novel that is meant to make you think. There is a sense of subtle sadness that is present throughout the book that I found very appealing. The writing is fairly simple, yet there is something quite poetic about it. So, if other Russian classics frighten you with the number of pages, try this one. In my opinion it is just as wonderful as the other well-known ones; full of philosophy, moral dilemmas, soul searching and deep thoughts, it just comes in a smaller package. Seriously though, it really is great novel, a classic that lives up to its reputation.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    This is a novel that should probably be read by everybody (fathers, sons, mothers, daughters) at 18 years and again at 50 years. I'm somewhere in between, but it still enchanted me. 'Fathers and Sons' themes are universal, but also very relevant to Russia in the 1860s (post Emancipation Reform of 1861). IT is about the struggles between generations. It is is a novel about beauty, love, relationships, power, social etiquitte, etc. The duality of the generations in 'Fathers and Sons' allowed Turge This is a novel that should probably be read by everybody (fathers, sons, mothers, daughters) at 18 years and again at 50 years. I'm somewhere in between, but it still enchanted me. 'Fathers and Sons' themes are universal, but also very relevant to Russia in the 1860s (post Emancipation Reform of 1861). IT is about the struggles between generations. It is is a novel about beauty, love, relationships, power, social etiquitte, etc. The duality of the generations in 'Fathers and Sons' allowed Turgenev to explore the thesis/antithesis of the human condition. Turgenev shows us the gulf separating the polar shores of humanity, but also the expansive beauty of the seas in between. ___________________ - Robert Farwell / Edward Jones library / Mesa, AZ 2014

  14. 4 out of 5

    Maru Kun

    I knew becoming a parent would be a lot of work but I wasn’t prepared for the pile of worry that came with it, nor for how quickly that pile would grow into a mountain. It starts with the childhood illnesses: a thirty-nine degree fever? It must be meningitis. Then the real worries come, beginning with education. My nine year old has a B+ in drama and C in math. It’s all over: a life spent waiting tables before the big break which never comes. Don’t worry, we’ll be there for you son. In the teenag I knew becoming a parent would be a lot of work but I wasn’t prepared for the pile of worry that came with it, nor for how quickly that pile would grow into a mountain. It starts with the childhood illnesses: a thirty-nine degree fever? It must be meningitis. Then the real worries come, beginning with education. My nine year old has a B+ in drama and C in math. It’s all over: a life spent waiting tables before the big break which never comes. Don’t worry, we’ll be there for you son. In the teenage years we have self or future-career destruction triggered by combining stupidity with Facebook. In university, back to education with added regret at not having helped out with the math homework when they were younger. And now, thanks to Turgenev, I have a few more worries to add to the pile: My son’s best friend might be an arrogant prick who deserves a good kicking like Brazov or like Arkady he might go and marry the first girl he meets just because she’s a bit posh. But now I have read “Fathers and Sons’ a new and darker fear has disturbed my peace of mind. I now can’t sleep with worry that my son might embrace an extreme, materialistic, life denying political ideology quite out of touch with the day to day existence of most people and with no sense of common humanity. That’s right, my son might become a Tory. Let’s hope he never quite goes that far and sticks with something less damaging like nihilism or anarchism. Thanks Turgenev. A bigger mountain of worry was just what I needed.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mark André

    A delightful and charming, warm and friendly, life-affirming novel. The perfect summer vacation book for anyone who likes to read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    I re-read Fathers and Sons for a couple reasons; 1) I have been on a small Rereading Great Russian Novel kick the last couple years and 2) I was interested in what the book might have to say about the relationships between fathers and sons. As to #1, this novel was the first Great Russian Novel to achieve international fame, paving the way for--in my estimation—greater works from Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, but it’s also pretty legitimately great in its own right. As to #2, I think it’s less actuall I re-read Fathers and Sons for a couple reasons; 1) I have been on a small Rereading Great Russian Novel kick the last couple years and 2) I was interested in what the book might have to say about the relationships between fathers and sons. As to #1, this novel was the first Great Russian Novel to achieve international fame, paving the way for--in my estimation—greater works from Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, but it’s also pretty legitimately great in its own right. As to #2, I think it’s less actually about father and son relationships than generational cultural, political and philosophical differences in the Russia of the time. The book features a youngish nihilist botanist Bazarov who asserts that he basically believes in nothing (which puts him somewhat to the left of anarchism, and well left of pragmatism, two lively nineteenth century frameworks for living) and who is completely engaging—if not all that likeable. This character in particular set off a firestorm of critique from the right (who saw it as an attack on traditional Russian humane values because they though Turgenev approved of Bazarov) and the left, especially nihilists, who thought Turgenev denounced/satirized Bazarov. Turgenev, who was interested in depicting with a kind of social realism the Russia of mid-nineteenth century, was not interested in didacticism or political essays. His goal was to write a novel with complex characters, and in my opinion, pulls it off! He admitted he was fond of Bazarov as one of his characters, but disavowed any association with his cynical ideas. And when we see the chinks in Bazarov’s cynical armor, we get to like him a little. A little. But he’s never a dull character. Bazarov is kind of (Lee, in a review I recall from weeks ago calls him) a nineteenth century punk, anti-social, anti-arts, who puts more faith in rationalism and science than metaphysics or grand theories. As he says, “What's important is that twice two is four and all the rest's nonsense.” He prefers to debunk ideas more than anything else. While he says “first let’s destroy everything, raze it to the ground, and we’ll worry about re-building later,” he’s really too lazy to do any of the actual razing. He’s a sort of slacker, a puppy, all bark. Bazarov has a follower, Arkady, whom he accompanies to Arkady’s summer home, where the freeing of the serfs was taking place (abut the time slaves were being freed in this country). Arkady mainly just agrees with everything Bazarov says. Has a kind of man-crush on him, but he has no ideas of his own. Arkady’s Dad Nikolai and his uncle Pavel, old school humanists who want to Do Good in the World, are exasperated by these new-fangled ideas. Though Bazarov is the most memorable central character, my favorite character in the book is Uncle Pavel, for sure (Lee calls him a metro-sexual, which works), who is sophisticated and common-sensical and thinks the young guys are talking like idiots. As he says of them, “The fact is that previously they were simply dunces and now they've suddenly become nihilists.” So the young pups leave for the country, run into a couple of bright and memorably strong-willed and articulate sisters, Katya and Anna, whom they promptly fall in love with, undermining all of their anti-idealism in a kind of comic way. One memorable line; Botanist Bazarov remarks to Arkady about Anna: “What a magnificent body, how I should like to see it on the dissecting table.” Ha! There, Bazarov is proven right: biology, love/lust triumphs over philosophy and big fancypants ideas, go figure. Comedy, all’s well, basically. When the boys return to Arkady’s place the uncle, Pavel, for some reasons insists on dueling Bazarov, getting (lightly) wounded in the process, which has also a kind of comic story. Again, the Clash of Big Ideas comes down to two guys fighting (as if) to the death. Biology (testosterone) trumps philosophy. Again, comedy, all’s well. The fathers are not prominently featured in this book, they basically shut up and let the young turks blather on, though they also love them a great deal. Parents in this book love their crazy kids and just want them around (and to maybe shut up about all the radical talk already!): Just fall in love, have babies, and grow up! So love conquers all, and Arkady stops being all revolutionary and marries and reconnects with Dad, whew, back in the fold. I won’t tell you what happens to Bazarov, in the end, but I will say I liked the book quite a lot. You won’t forget Bazarov and Pavel.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Edward

    Chronology Introduction Further Reading Translator's Note --Fathers and Sons Notes

  18. 4 out of 5

    Piyangie

    Fathers and Sons is Turgenev's version of the age old tale of the battle between older and young generation. Set in 19th century Russia, the novel brings out the schism between the liberal minded older generation, who sought western based social changes in Russia, and the younger generation of nihilists, who defied the older order and authority. This is my first Turgenev novel and was very much surprised by the modernity of it. The use of the language and the easy, light writing style was quit Fathers and Sons is Turgenev's version of the age old tale of the battle between older and young generation. Set in 19th century Russia, the novel brings out the schism between the liberal minded older generation, who sought western based social changes in Russia, and the younger generation of nihilists, who defied the older order and authority. This is my first Turgenev novel and was very much surprised by the modernity of it. The use of the language and the easy, light writing style was quite contrary to the Russian literary experience that I have had so far. Turgenev is quite a different Russian author. His writing doesn't follow the deep philosophical and psychological writing of that of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy. While his subject matter is essentially Russian, his writing is more akin to his English and French counterparts. The light, lively and dramatic quality in his writing and the humour makes this novel a very enjoyable read. Turgenev brings an interesting set of characters to the story. The older and younger characters, both men and women, interested me equally. I was at a loss as to who the main character was, and settled it upon Bazarov. Bazarov, the nihilist, was not an easy character to like. At the beginning, I simply loathed him. But with time, he grew on me. This is not to say that his character was made likable by Turgenev. Bazarov was the same cynic from beginning to end, although he undergoes a character conflict with his unrequited love for Anna Sergeyevna. While Bazarov represented the young ideals alongside with his disciple Arkady, Nikolai and Pavel represented the old nobility who enjoyed their living in a westernized style. The two set of conflicting characters were a treat to read. The story has a bitter sweet end. Turgenev has worked towards a collapse of both these idealism. Arkady falls out with his idol, Bazarov and turns towards a liberal life. Bazarov himself succumbs to human nature and give in to human feelings when he falls in love. The man who defies authority falls under the authority of his heart. Nikolai marries his mistress with Pavel's consent and Pavel wastes away his "aristocratic" life in complete idleness. I don't know what Turgenev's view on liberalism and nihilism, but if the story is privy to his perspective, it looks as if he has been most dissatisfied with the hypocrisy surrounding both factions. The story, the characters and the writing were all very well done. The combination brings to the reader a wonderful novel. It was very interesting and engaging. For a very long time I have wanted to read Turgenev, and I'm happy to have ended the long wait with this read.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Fionnuala

    I started reading this book because I was looking for clues to help me decipher William Trevor’s Reading Turgenev but I didn’t really find many - I’ve since realised that Trevor was mostly referring to a different Turgenev novel, On the Eve. In fact Fathers and Sons has more in common with another book I read recently, Belinda McKeon’s Solace. Both novels are concerned with the gaps in comprehension between people of different generations, in particular between fathers and sons and the tensions I started reading this book because I was looking for clues to help me decipher William Trevor’s Reading Turgenev but I didn’t really find many - I’ve since realised that Trevor was mostly referring to a different Turgenev novel, On the Eve. In fact Fathers and Sons has more in common with another book I read recently, Belinda McKeon’s Solace. Both novels are concerned with the gaps in comprehension between people of different generations, in particular between fathers and sons and the tensions that arise as a result of these gaps and the consequent impact on the lives of all concerned. Interestingly, around 1840, Turgenev is said to have visited Edgworthstown, the home of Maria Edgeworth in Ireland where Solace is set. I imagine that she and Turgenev had a lot in common: land reform, plus access to better health and education for the masses. However, in Fathers and Sons, Turgenev seems to be saying that there is no point trying to bring about reforms until the time is right: during the course of the novel, he disposes rather cruelly of his principal reformer and turns the reformer’s main friend and supporter into a comfortable and prosperous landowner’s son living out his life in complete harmony with his father.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lit Bug

    I suspect ‘Fathers and Sons’ is too deeply a product of its particular time and place to be enjoyable now without a sense of the Russian history that has molded this novel into what it is. I began without a background, and though it was agreeable all the way through, I really didn’t find it gripping enough – surely it was an evergreen conflict, even if not on every count? The struggle between the titular Fathers and Sons is an eternal one, and I was surprised at my reluctance to engage with the I suspect ‘Fathers and Sons’ is too deeply a product of its particular time and place to be enjoyable now without a sense of the Russian history that has molded this novel into what it is. I began without a background, and though it was agreeable all the way through, I really didn’t find it gripping enough – surely it was an evergreen conflict, even if not on every count? The struggle between the titular Fathers and Sons is an eternal one, and I was surprised at my reluctance to engage with the text. Especially after I pored through the history of Russia from late 1700s to 1850s, as also tons of critical, well-argued, favorable postmortems of the novel after I found the novel unsatisfactory. Nihilism isn’t easy to come by in people today in its unadulterated form – but every now and then, there are variations of it, bright glimmers of it in people which demarcate and emphasize the growing chasm between two generations. I wonder if it is the translation that went wrong (Richard Hare), or if the text itself wasn’t effective enough, like I found in a similarly celebrated Indian classic historical novel Untouchable (TU now onward) by Mulk Raj Anand. But anyway, I remained Stoic throughout, unaffected, without a trace of emotion at what I’d just read, a confirmed classic, an undefeated favorite of many that had taken Russians by storm when it was published. Either my sense of Russian feeling/history isn’t strong enough yet to be able to comprehend the crisis this book represented, or it isn’t really that well-written to tug at my heart. I’m more inclined to think it is the latter, not out of vanity, but by experience of not caring for TU, while being torn apart by grief in A Fine Balance. They’re both about the same thing, but while TU is bland to me, AFB tugs at my heartstrings even today. Given its short size, I’ll give it a try again some years later, armed with a better understanding of Russia, but I’m not quite hopeful of any change in my stance.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lee Klein

    A proto-punk and a proto-metrosexual demand satisfaction from one another because the first macked on the latter's bro's baby mama. The gentry can't really rage against the machine, they're jackdaws, domesticated dogs. Guys in their early twenties have apparently always sort of sucked, albeit in an intellectually sexy way as long as they don't lack confidence. Repudiate, repudiate, repudiate, champion only what's useful, no authority other than oneself. Blame testosterone plus higher education? A proto-punk and a proto-metrosexual demand satisfaction from one another because the first macked on the latter's bro's baby mama. The gentry can't really rage against the machine, they're jackdaws, domesticated dogs. Guys in their early twenties have apparently always sort of sucked, albeit in an intellectually sexy way as long as they don't lack confidence. Repudiate, repudiate, repudiate, champion only what's useful, no authority other than oneself. Blame testosterone plus higher education? But then you get older and believe principles are necessary and dress a little better. Interesting structural repetition of crisscrossing "two on two" dynamics throughout: two brothers and two younger dudes; two younger dudes and two sisters; two younger dudes and their parents. Good to see the young toughs either settle down or succumb. Overall, I loved this once Pavel showed up, one of those batchelors described as "queer" and "gay" in an 1861 way that probably helped establish current meanings. Loved the generational conflict, the intellectual argumentation that only required 25 pages to reach a boil, not 500+ like Naptha and Settembrini in The Magic Mountain. Loved the setting, and loved how the two young nihilistic gallants basically meet a hottie for a minute at a fancy dance and then hang at her place for a fortnight and lust after her but for the most part maintain their distance. A very modern novel in some ways -- and not at all in others. Loved the variously liberated ladies, best of all Bazarov's superstitious mah. Loved fatherly love for spirited sons. Generally, other than a few dips I was engaged and visualizing the world and following the explicit ideas throughout. Admired the complexity of the characters but didn't love the characters themselves, and therefore wasn't particularly moved by the requisite youthful struggles with love. I rooted for all of them, really, but more so hoped the novel would maintain its high-qual stability and maybe even take it up a notch or breakout. May have read it more interested in the structure than the story. Definitely a major canonical novel of ideas that seems ahead of its time at times but maybe I could've used some more wisdom and lyricism or a bit that broke from its established patterns? Monotextured but not dull, necessarily. A cute bastard child, a duel, "the jerky trot of shivering horses," a Russian anti-poetic rebel without a cause other than sarcasm and negation with which he'll change the world versus a principled quasi-aristocratic manscaper capable of high feeling and obtuse articulation providing high contrast for less exagerrated, more common characters. Solid but maybe without the peaks expected when hiking the canonical Russian mountain chain?

  22. 5 out of 5

    Karina

    4.5 Beautiful Classic. Great story about the different mindset of the "old" vs new generation with the differentiating of ideas. Anyone from any era can compare it to their own growing up to the way their children talk to them about how antique it all is and how the new is the "right" way to do anything. Turgenev has a way with showing his characters and how much sentimentality he puts into their lives. This story had no plot but it showcased his meaning. The translation wasn't very good and I w 4.5 Beautiful Classic. Great story about the different mindset of the "old" vs new generation with the differentiating of ideas. Anyone from any era can compare it to their own growing up to the way their children talk to them about how antique it all is and how the new is the "right" way to do anything. Turgenev has a way with showing his characters and how much sentimentality he puts into their lives. This story had no plot but it showcased his meaning. The translation wasn't very good and I wish the forward and the side notes had highlighted more of the author's thoughts and meanings of things for that time period. I read two different versions and even the names were different so I just stuck with this version until the end. The story mostly followed Arkady and his new friend Bazarov, a nihilist, to Arkady's home after University. Bazarov creates disagreements and psychological truths to everyone he comes across. No one understands his non beliefs and the indifference in his voice when he voices any kind of opinion, or in his case no opinion at all. It is when he falls in love that I see him as a youngster trying to change the world (like we all have at 20-21) and then falling into the trap of just going day to day just like everyone else bc the world is bigger than just ourselves and our genuine desires. The ending was also entertaining. Turgenev put in a "where are they now" chapter. He made it like these were real people and were living out their lives after the last chapter. Awesome ending. "What a lot a word can do! He's found one- he said- 'crisis' and feels better. It's an astounding thing, the faith men still have in words. Tell a man he's a fool, for instance, and though you don't lay a finger on him he'll be miserable; call him a brainy chap and go off without paying him- and he'll be delighted." This little speech of Bazarov's, reminiscent of his old sallies, greatly moved his father. (PAGE 284, PENGUIN CLASSIC EDITION) I can't wait to see what else Turgenev has in store. Russian writers have such a way with story telling. Fantastic.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ali

    To begin with, I never intended to read 'Fathers and Sons' by Turgenev in the first place; rather, it was one of the lesser known works of this lesser known Russian master, 'Sketches from a hunter's album' that I sought so eagerly. But after searching for the latter endlessly, my efforts proved futile as I was unable to get my hands on it. Later, I remember stumbling upon an excerpt of 'Fathers and Sons', and it piqued my curiosity. The excerpt was such: “Whereas I think: I’m lying here in a hays To begin with, I never intended to read 'Fathers and Sons' by Turgenev in the first place; rather, it was one of the lesser known works of this lesser known Russian master, 'Sketches from a hunter's album' that I sought so eagerly. But after searching for the latter endlessly, my efforts proved futile as I was unable to get my hands on it. Later, I remember stumbling upon an excerpt of 'Fathers and Sons', and it piqued my curiosity. The excerpt was such: “Whereas I think: I’m lying here in a haystack... The tiny space I occupy is so infinitesimal in comparison with the rest of space, which I don’t occupy and which has no relation to me. And the period of time in which I’m fated to live is so insignificant beside the eternity in which I haven’t existed and won’t exist... And yet in this atom, this mathematical point, blood is circulating, a brain is working, desiring something... What chaos! What a farce!” Needless to say, but this is the first Russian masterpiece that I have read as of now. True, I had started reading 'Crime and Punishment' by Dostoevsky, and had managed to read a 100 pages or so before a catastrophe struck, and as a result, I ceased to read it any longer. I vividly remember leaving the book leaning against the window on the window sill in my study, and upon returning from an errand, found to my horror, the book all sodden from the rainstorm. And later, when I put the book outside on my terrace, even the warm, invigorating sunlight could do little to revert the book to its old, pristine state, and it was as stiff and as unyielding as the bark of an old, sturdy oak. But surely, I digress.... By the time I was done with the first 60 or 70 pages of this novella, I felt disoriented; I simply failed to see the 'greatness' in Turgenev's much acclaimed work. To put simply, I could not fathom the ramblings of our caustic, young protagonist, Bazarov; even his pompous arguments with Paul Petrovitch, and his chiding and admonishing his much impressionable deary, Arkady, did little to provide a direction as to where all this was headed. But truly, how wrong I was, for Turgenev was laying the cornerstone of everything that was to come in this masterpiece. Before progressing further, it is imperative that one delves deeper into the inner workings of Bazarov's mind; he is self-assured, indifferent, fearless, caustic, contemptuous, a self-proclaimed nihilist—with a temerity and audacity to refute all underlying principles prevalent in the society — boorish, compassionate, curious, pragmatist down to his bones and a realist who loathes even the idea of love! The novel starts off with the Baron—Nikolai Petrovitch Kirsanov—eagerly awaiting his son’s arrival, Arkady, on the verandah of a posting house. The son is returning as a graduate from Saint Petersburg state university to his paternal estate in the countryside, and brings along his new acquaintance and mentor, Bazarov to stay with them at Marino. And soon enough the young man's blithe disregard and abhorrence of everything that constitutes the prevalent system causes a stir amongst the household, Arkady's uncle Paul Petrovitch in particular; wherefore Paul Petrovitch engages him in a discourse and asks him to expound upon this new and queer term, 'Nihilism', but not without disdain and much cynicism. Both pitted against each other, the results are witty, contemptuous remarks by Paul, and caustic rejoinders by young Bazarov. Consider a specimen: Bazarov: "The aristocratic idea, forsooth! Liberalism, progress, principles! Why, have you ever considered the vanity of those terms? The Russian of today does not need them." Paul Petrovitch: "Then what, in your opinion, does he need? To listen to you, one would suppose that we stood wholly divorced from humanity and humanity's laws; whereas, pardon me, the logic of history demands —" Bazarov: "What has that logic to do with us? We can get on quite well without it." Paul Petrovitch: "How can we do so?" Bazarov: "Even as I have said. When you want to put a piece of bread into your mouth do you need logic for that purpose? What has those abstractions to do with ourselves?" True, nihilism might seem dated to some, and one might be put off by the sociopolitical commentary, but the setting is changed with the arrival of a certain Madame Odintsov, and Bazarov, is drawn to her charms and persona. Ah, how deftly Turgenev portrays the yearnings of tender, fledgling hearts, and in doing so, rips open the inconsistencies and pitfalls of Bazarov's own beliefs. Bazarov from then on remains restless, and is lost in the chasm that lies between a heart and mind of a mortal. This perpetual ache, that he at first attempts to evade, and later, when finally failing at it, conceals in his bosom, gives rise to unbearable ennui. And the result is his impulsiveness, his frivolity and his detachment from rationale. One simply cannot overlook Turgenev's love of the countryside. The way he captures the essence of the wild, hypnotic, country life in his lyrical prose is rather bewitching, for none escapes his eye; his endless love for the countryside is manifested throughout the novella. Perhaps, for me at least, the most striking part was the relationship between Bazarov and his parents; consider the plight of the father: he is awed by his son's brilliance, and to him, his son is the most beautiful sight to behold, but in doing so, which he often does covertly at times, and on pretexts other times, does his best to appear nonchalant in his son's presence, but the father's unconditional love, which is manifested by the father's subtle gesticulations, his imploring eyes and a quivering voice are palpable, bringing one close to tears. And how possibly can one forget the incessant sobbing of the mother who yearns to hold her son in her arms and probably caress his cheek, tousle his hair, and shower kisses on his forehead! This novella affected me profoundly, in a way which any other book hitherto has failed to do so; it is a work that I truly revere and reading it again will be a beautiful and insightful experience. Bazarov shall live in my memory for a long time to come! And lastly..... 'But are those tears, those prayers, all fruitless? Is that love, that hallowed, selfless love, of theirs to be wholly unavailing? No, no, and a thousand times no! For, though the heart which lies within that tomb may have been passionate and wild and erring, the flowers which bloom in that spot contemplate us with eyes of naught but peace and innocence, and speak to us of naught but the eternal, mighty calm of 'unheeding' nature, as an image of the Eternal Reconciliation, and of the Life which shall have no End.' RIP Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev, Rest In Peace!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    You might not know about this but ol' Turgenev was sortof a big deal back in the day. This book here in particular paved the way for some of those guys you mighta heard more about - fellas named Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. I don't know why I've started talking like an old-timey prospector. This was a landmark in realism - the big dude before this was Gogol - and also a landmark in not hating serfs (er...Gogol again). Which the thing with serfs is it was like slaves except not stolen from Africa. So. You might not know about this but ol' Turgenev was sortof a big deal back in the day. This book here in particular paved the way for some of those guys you mighta heard more about - fellas named Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. I don't know why I've started talking like an old-timey prospector. This was a landmark in realism - the big dude before this was Gogol - and also a landmark in not hating serfs (er...Gogol again). Which the thing with serfs is it was like slaves except not stolen from Africa. So...not...as bad? It turns out that ranking the types of slavery is not a good thing to do. Fathers were sortof pro-serfdom and sons were anti-serfdom, so there's your basic plot. The two lead characters, Arkady and Bazarov, go visit their parents. There are a lot of ideological debates, as Turgenev - who comes off like a playwright but is in fact a poet - dramatizes the different sides over various lengthy dinner arguments. These scenes are thick on references to people like George Sands and Proudhon, and here's who that is: how would I fucking know, this is boring. Luckily they also go visit some ladies, and that part is way better because Turgenev is amazing at writing sexual tension. There's a scene between Bazarov and this lady Anna Sergeyevna where they don't have sex and it's just, like, oozing. There's another one between him and Arkady's dad's new mistress. I totally love these parts. Bazarov is a nihilist and a questioner of authority and systems and he raised quite a ruckus when this book was released. Older people thought he was disrespectful and younger people thought he was a dick and didn't represent them well at all. They were all right. He comes off as sortof a proto-Wildean cynic, with all Wilde's compelling, tiresome glib cleverness. I don't think Turgenev knew quite what to make of him himself. There's a duel in here that I guess is maybe metaphorical - it's between generations - but it kinda came out of nowhere for me. (view spoiler)[It's between Bazarov and Arkady's uncle Pavel, a shitty pretentious fuck. Bazarov wins by accidentally shooting Pavel in the leg. It's a great scene, mostly funny, probably intentionally so, but weird. And then Bazarov dies of something totally different: his intellectual curiosity leads him to attempt a dissection of a guy who died of...I think it's cholera, and he gets infected. It's all fairly maudlin. (hide spoiler)] So the thing with this whole book is, Turgenev is terrific when he writes sexual tension but pretty boring when he writes ideological whatever, and this book is great in parts but pretty boring in lots of other parts, and you're like "Man, wouldn't it be great if I could read a book that just had the great parts?" Here's the surprise: you can. Turgenev wrote this awesome novella called First Love that's exactly that. If you were asking for my opinion, I'd tell you to read that one instead of this one.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mahima

    “It turns out there's empty space in my suitcase and I'm stuffing hay into it. That's just how it is in the suitcase of our lives; it doesn't matter what you stuff in, as long as there's no empty space.” Whatever problems in the nineteenth century Russia Turgenev, through Fathers and Sons, touches at, all he does is simply portray them with the most stirring sincerity, and this sincerity becomes more important than the fact that he doesn’t provide any solution to these problems; in fact, he only “It turns out there's empty space in my suitcase and I'm stuffing hay into it. That's just how it is in the suitcase of our lives; it doesn't matter what you stuff in, as long as there's no empty space.” Whatever problems in the nineteenth century Russia Turgenev, through Fathers and Sons, touches at, all he does is simply portray them with the most stirring sincerity, and this sincerity becomes more important than the fact that he doesn’t provide any solution to these problems; in fact, he only complicates them, and provides us with a means that would lead to reflection. There is no resolution. In fact, there is no overtly-structured plot to resolve to begin with, a stark contrast to the fiction being written in England at the same time. The novel’s over-arching arguments do not rely on any plot, which is almost dissatisfying in and of itself (which is not to say that there isn’t any action in the story); they rely, instead, on abstract senses that do not even hold any particular significance. What Turgenev really does is use the action throughout the story to develop his characters, to bring out their souls and minds and temperaments. What I was left with to mull over after having finished the book, more than anything else, was the personalities of the characters. And that inevitably led me to mull over what Turgenev is trying to say about life itself. The narrator sometimes suggests that he himself doesn’t fully understand the characters, as if they have a life of their own, as if they have broken away of Turgenev’s control. And that is exactly what they seem to have done. This adds a level of unsolved depth to the characters. The characters retain a human mystery; they have human emotions that come to the surface, albeit still not solved, in the dialogue. The lack of a structured narrative and the presence of a myriad of abstract conversations reveal what we do not understand about life. Each of the characters has different psychologies, and yet they all struggle with the same questions of love and suffering as any other human being. Yes, the book is about the discourses dominating Russia in the nineteenth century, of which Nihilism is a big part, but limiting the book to just that would be to not see the big picture (which, again, is not to say that those discourses aren’t important). The big picture is the condition of human life, of humans struggling with existence. In that sense, it almost seems to be foreshadowing existentialism. What is touching about this book is that there is nothing out of the ordinary in it. Even (view spoiler)[Bazarov’s death (hide spoiler)] , instead of being a consequence of his view of life, as one would expect, is as random and cruel as real life is. And it is this ordinariness that best manages to capture the pain and suffering that nothing else could have.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Cyndi

    I was quite surprised by this book. I’m not normally a huge fan of Russian lit because I like happier books and Russian lit from this era tends to be heavy and dramatic. Although I will admit sometimes they hit the right cord for me. This one actually did. The characters were well developed and the story was interesting without becoming too bogged down in politics.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sidharth Vardhan

    The first time I heard of Turgenev, it was Dostoevsky. Dostoevsky parodied Turgenev in his character 'Karmazinov' in novel 'Demons' for writing 'Fathers and Sons'. Turgenev's novel is based on the nihilist generation and the differences they had with the previous generation - that of socialists. The 'nihilist' son Bazarov in the novel refuse to believe in anything based solely on authority - whether it be established sciences, practices, arts or traditions. The 'fathers' in the book are in too m The first time I heard of Turgenev, it was Dostoevsky. Dostoevsky parodied Turgenev in his character 'Karmazinov' in novel 'Demons' for writing 'Fathers and Sons'. Turgenev's novel is based on the nihilist generation and the differences they had with the previous generation - that of socialists. The 'nihilist' son Bazarov in the novel refuse to believe in anything based solely on authority - whether it be established sciences, practices, arts or traditions. The 'fathers' in the book are in too much of awe for their sons and even have some sort of guilty conscience to produce arguments for their way of thinking. However the nihilism has its own problems. (to began with, nihilism is based on 'belief' that nothing is worth believing and is thus paradoxical).Even if you have good reasons to defy authority, often people tend to develop it as a habit and defy authority just for sake of it. Bazarov of the story struggles with his feelings of love just because it is a feeling in established tradition. Thus, Turgenev did brought out the fact that nihilism was not without its faults. But the character of the Bazarov so attractive to the younger minds of the time that the novel made the word 'Nihilism' popular all over the world (he might have seemed just so 'cool') . This is probably why Dostoevsky was so critical of him - perhaps, Dostoevsky (always fascinated with new ideas, yet never letting them blind him so much as to not to see their faults) believed that 'nihilism' is much worse than Turgenev portrays it. Dostoevsky's 'Demons' (written a decade later) is based on similar themes - the divide between socialist father and nihilist son. However the nihilists and one idea people in Demons are in anguish because of their ideas or lack thereof. Stavrogin, the nihilist son in Demons, appeared 'cool' - a sort of 'Don Juan' too in the beginning of novel but as you read on, you discover that he was and is always struggling to find something to believe in. There are suicides all around in Demons - suicides and murders. When Harvey Dent in 'The Dark Knight' sees his world coming down and his belief system shattered, he starts making attempts on lives of people all around - including his own life. that a strong nihilism might make you want to commit suicide is something Camus too struggles with in his essay 'Myth of Sisyphus' - a long argument against suicide which quotes Dostoevsky's 'Demons' several times. Obsession with just one idea either makes you dull or frantic or both. Refusing to believe in anything at all might be cool at start for intellectual introspection but it drains you of energy, it is human nature to always search for, look for things to believe in, people need a belief system just like they need a ground to walk on.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Evan

    "Every single man hangs by a thread, a bottomless pit can open beneath him any minute, and yet he still goes on thinking up unpleasantness for himself and making a mess of his life." -Bazarov, in Fathers and Sons Finally, a dusty old classic that lives up to its reputation. Turgenev's Fathers and Sons is pleasingly warm and crisply distilled vodka, a rich and pungent family saga that even a mildly disappointing heart-tugging finale can't ruin. It's like Russia's Catcher in the Rye but from way wa "Every single man hangs by a thread, a bottomless pit can open beneath him any minute, and yet he still goes on thinking up unpleasantness for himself and making a mess of his life." -Bazarov, in Fathers and Sons Finally, a dusty old classic that lives up to its reputation. Turgenev's Fathers and Sons is pleasingly warm and crisply distilled vodka, a rich and pungent family saga that even a mildly disappointing heart-tugging finale can't ruin. It's like Russia's Catcher in the Rye but from way way back in 1862. And if you're not a fan of Catcher... don't let this comparison discourage you. Unlike Salinger, the narrator is omniscient, not first person, but in terms of zeitgeist this book has the same rebellious freshness. It remains one of the best novels ever written on inter-generational strife, and the way in which parents and their children negotiate those gaps. It is timeless and uncannily familiar. The book's most famous character, Bazarov, is the beatnik hippie punk slacker of his day, convinced that nothing matters and that all oldsters are hopelessly squaresville. Bazarov's nihilism is, of course, absurd, and Turgenev knows it but generously allows Bazarov to be a well-rounded sympathetic character, deeper than a mere ideologue; much of what the young man says offers great food for thought. In his hard-headed youthful stubbornness, though, Bazarov fails to see the arbitrariness and lack of balance of his worldview, and in the mere reliance on scientific empiricism rejects his own assertions of nihilism without apparent awareness. With his arrogance, it seems somehow fitting that he is studying to be a doctor. Even though the book delves into the histories of three families, the story is streamlined, intimate and never unwieldy. The back story and yearning of Pavel, the aristocratic uncle of Bazarov's best friend, Arkady, is very moving; a prime case in literature of an unsympathetic character fleshed out to gain the reader's empathy. The relationship between Bazarov and his father, who practices folk medicine to the mild amusement of his son, is incredibly touching. The romances are handled beautifully and are full of irony. I loved the book and have to consider it, to date, my favorite Russian novel. ------- ([email protected], amended slightly in 2016)

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kalliope

    This is not a review. But today there have been many exchanges on several of the reviews on this book at GR, and I just found this link to an essay by Henry James on Turgenev, and I did not know where to hang it. http://www.eldritchpress.org/ist/hjam...

  30. 4 out of 5

    Clif Hostetler

    Fathers and Sons, first published in 1862, is a classic of Russian literature that examines youthful idealism and its pitfalls. It is a depiction of two generations with widely differing political and social values. The setting is 19th Century Russia shortly after the emancipation of the Russian serfs. The narrative follows two young men returning home after spending years attending College. The result is a confrontation between the traditional fathers (but liberal minded) and their idealistic s Fathers and Sons, first published in 1862, is a classic of Russian literature that examines youthful idealism and its pitfalls. It is a depiction of two generations with widely differing political and social values. The setting is 19th Century Russia shortly after the emancipation of the Russian serfs. The narrative follows two young men returning home after spending years attending College. The result is a confrontation between the traditional fathers (but liberal minded) and their idealistic sons. The antagonism portrayed in the book demonstrates the timeless conflict between youth and their elders. There are plenty of contemporary generational and political resonances contained in the story if the reader looks for them. Frankly, listening to the conflict portrayed in this book wasn't a pleasant experience for me. Thus, I can't recommend it as a book that others are likely to enjoy. But I felt better about the book after finishing it. I think the book's message is that the older and younger generations need to be more understanding of each other. We all need to mellow out a bit. It's interesting to note that from our own perspective in history, the changes in 1862 were nothing compared to what was going to happen to Russia 50 years later. It's sad to realize that the presence of idealistic young people and liberal minded parents does not necessarily lead to peace for later generations. When will it ever end?

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