Prior to today I have posted on two short stories by Ivan Turgenev (1818 to 1883, Russia) and his novella, Diary of a Superfluous Man. (There is some additional background information on Turgenev in my prior posts on him.)\
Please consider joining us for Irish Short Story Week Year Two, March 12 to March 22. All you need do is post on one short story by an Irish author and send me a comment or and e mail and I will include it in the master post at the end of the challenge.
Fathers and Sons was the first Russian work to be widely read out side of the country. As the novel opens two young men fresh from the university go for a visit to the modest country estate of the father of Arkady. His father feels a bit uncomfortable as he has recently had a child with one of the servant women and has kept this from his son. The son's friend is an advocate of nihilism, a new philosophy that repudiates all ideas that cannot be scientifically proved. The friend, Bazarov, strongly condemns everything about life in Russia from the Czar to the peasants.
I do not see a need or wish to give a plot summery (there is one here if you are doing your homework).
The power in this book is in several things. One of them, as the title suggests, is its its brilliant portrayal of the relationship between the two young men and their fathers. Another is in its portrayal of the coming changes in Russia, the Russian Revolution was still over fifty years in the future. We can see the radical Bazarov is not really ready to turn everything over to the peasants. There are also beautiful descriptions of the natural wonders of rural Russia. Bazarov gets in a duel over a petty point of honor, he is still enough of a traditionalist to hold to old codes of honor. One of the most moving parts of the book is when Bazarov goes to visit his own parents, very traditional people who love their son with all their heart but have no comprehension of what is behind his strange and radical to them views.
I really enjoyed reading Fathers and Sons. It is not hard to read or follow at all.
I plan to begin to read the stories in his Sportsman's Sketches soon. Please share your experience with Turgenev with us.