0209 | Fathers & Sons – Ivan Turgenev


Context: finished this off on a 2 mile run with a lovely sunset and autumn breeze in my face.

I’ve not read a Russian novel that has disappointed me. That was not until now.

From start to finish, I really wanted this to be over and done with. I kept with it, hoping it would be more than it was. But like most novels that are very influential, it contains only the seeds of genius and not the full flower.

Dostoesky and Tolstoy would later do what Turgenev could not with this novel and, having read them, it’s hard to go back to Turgenev’s Fathers & Sons.

So, should I have read this before reading Tolstoy and Dostoevsky and Goncharov? No. If I had, I probably would never have wanted to read another classic Russian novel in my life again. I know this is the novel that started the modern Russian literary movement. But I hated it.

My verdict? This is for hardcore Russo-lit lovers. Others, move on to more recent stuff and, if you can’t hack that, get into Solzhenitsyn.

Well, Piotr, not in sight yet?

However passionate, sinning, and rebellious the heart hidden in the tomb, the flowers growing over it peep serenely at us with their innocent eyes; they tell us not of eternal palce alone, of that great peach of “indifferent” nature; they tell us, too, of eternal reconciliation and of life without end.

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