11 July 2012

Fathers and Sons

I just finished Turgenev's Fathers and Sons. While I generally love Russian literature, I must confess that this wasn't my favorite. As the title suggests, the short novel is partly a reflection on generational differences. The most memorable character, Bazarov, is a nihilist who seeks to radically challenge all views. Part of my difficulty warming to the book probably stems from the cultural and language gap. The significance of much of the interaction between upper-class Russians from the period is lost on me, and the translator clearly had a hard time conveying all the plays on words and use of dialect to mark social standing. In the end, I still prefer the iconoclastic characters in Camus' The Stranger, in Zorba the Greek, and Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. The characters in those three books were more fleshed out and sparked deeper philosophical reflections.

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