Fathers and Sons
From “one of the greatest Russian writers . . . perhaps the best novel about the generational divide between parents and children” (Russia Beyond).
This iconic Russian work of domestic fiction is thought to be the greatest literary achievement of nineteenth-century poet, playwright, and novelist Ivan Turgenev. Fathers and Sons shocked and divided readers when it was first published in 1862, as it is a penetrating portrayal of the disconnection between parents and children, conservatism and liberalism, change and the status quo.
Upon his return from college, Arkady Petrovich Kirsanov is barely recognizable to his father, for he has fallen under the spell of Bazarov, a self-proclaimed nihilist who rejects the traditional values of contemporary Russian society. Bazarov’s influence on the Kirsanov household in matters of politics and passion reflects the changes that took place across all of Russia during the nineteenth century.
“A 200-page ravishing knockout of a book that explains just about everything you need to know about families, love, heartache, religion, duels and the institution of serfdom in 19th-century Russia, not to mention advice on how to seduce your housekeeper’s young daughter. In short, it’s a Russian masterpiece, one written so beautifully and with such economy, that when you finish reading it you feel a little shaken and a little stirred. A vodka martini on the front porch might be in order.” —Gary Shteyngart, NPR
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