Sunday, December 27, 2015

Fathers and Sons - Ivan Turgenev

Here's another author who is new to me - and who I think may become a new favorite. This was like a sliver of Tolstoy - with a nicely focused story, no tiresome repetition, etc. etc. I'm sure a lot of the subtext in this book is lost on me as a modern reader, but I can see how it would have been a sensation in its time. I think it's evident that the author was a playwright, as the story seems almost broken up into acts. It all works well together, even if I'm not entirely sure what the message I should take away from the book is. I'll have to read more books by Turgenev in the near future. Recommended.


  1. The story portrayed a type of Nihilistic philosophy that rejected the old Russian order, and pushed for a modernized Western-type society over tradition. Turgenev sides with tradition. A response to Fathers and Sons came from Nikolai Chernyshevsky in his book, What Is To Be Done? He despised Father's and Sons and promoted a monistic materialism based on reason. Then Dostoyevsky wrote Notes From the Underground in response to Chernyshevsky's philosophy, which shows its problems. It's a fascinating conversation between these authors. If you want an overview, here's my Fathers and Sons review with links to the other books at the bottom: It's really worth reading all three, as it gives you a much better understanding of what the books mean.

    I love Turgenev too. I plan to read more of him in 2016!

  2. Oh thanks Cleo, how fascinating! Looks like I should read these books in order. I'll definitely check out your link, and here's to more Turgenev in 2016! :)