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As Arkady Kirsanov returns home after graduation, his father waits patiently for himexcited to see his much-loved son once again. But in returning home to a world that has remained static, Arkady and his friend Bazarov, a self-defined nihilist, find themselves wholly changed, and must now redefine old relationshipsboth their friendship with one another and their relationships with their fathersfrom new perspectives. Ivan Turgenev’s brilliant novel explores generational differences and their tragic consequences.

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Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9781443435413
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This book throws me back to my teens, a time when I read all the great Russian authors. I really like this book, because it captured the atmosphere of the times. It does so in a style that is more gentle than Dostoevsky; and reaches down into the character of the protagonists. I wish, however, that it went deeper into the relationship between the generations. But then, that is my wish only!more
Paperback (edit)review This is the kind of book to read while still in college or in high school. Youth, realizing how bad and corrupt things are in the world become disillusioned and want to change it. In Fathers and Sons, Bazarov wants to destroy it, for he is a nihilist. This book is good on many different levels. It's a great historical piece, reflecting what was going on in Russia in the mid-19th century. Students were coming back from colleges in Western Europe, in some cases they were forcibly recalled by Russian law. These students, filled with ideas about how things can be, or taken aback at the backward customs and rituals in Russia. In the book, Barazrov and Arkady are two such students. Bazarov is the one with the fire in the belly. He wants to destroy the whole Russian system which resemble feudalism. The book documents his views and his fights with the landowners and the Fathers of Russia. It's also a great reflection of generational conflict. The young, wanting to change the world, the old who feel their ideas are fads to pass with time. There is even condescension about these ideas. I thought this was an excellent passage that reflected this:"Of course gentlemen, you know best; how could we keep pace with you? You are here to take our places. In my day, too, there was some sort of Humouralist school, Hoffman, and brown too with his vitalism--they seemed ridiculous to us, but, of course, they too had been great men at one time or another. Some one new has taken the place of Rademacher with you; you bow down to him, but in another twenty years it will be his turn to be laughed at." P 135When I read about generationally conflict today, this book reminds me how long that conflict has been going on. It gives me a better understanding of it. I felt the ending was a bit bleak. The man wanting change and railing against the system becomes a victim of it and dies, representing that death of progress in Russia at the time (the students were roundly rejected by the system and even by the peasants they were trying to help). Overall an excellent and short book. More passages: Then we suspected that talk, perpetual talk, and nothing but talk, about our social diseases, was not worth while, that it all led to nothing but superficiality and pedantry; we saw that our leading men, so-called advanced people and reformers, are no good; that we busy ourselves over foolery, talk rubbish about art, unconscious creativeness, parliamentarism, trial by jury, and the deuce knows what all; while, all the while, it's a question of getting bread to eat, while we're stifling under the grossest superstition, while all our enterprises come to grief, simply because there aren't honest men enough to carry them on, while the very emancipation our Government's busy upon will hardly come to any good, because peasants are glad to rob even themselves to get drunk at the gin-shop.' chap 5...es, yes. First a pride almost Satanic, then ridicule—that, that's what it is attracts the young, that's what gains an ascendancy over the inexperienced hearts of boys! Here's one of them sitting beside you, ready to worship the ground under your feet. Look at him! (Arkady turned away and frowned.) And this plague has spread far already. I have been told that in Rome our artists never set foot in the Vatican. Raphael they regard as almost a fool, because, if you please, he's an authority; while they're all the while most disgustingly sterile and unsuccessful, men whose imagination does not soar beyond 'Girls at a Fountain,' however they try! And the girls even out of drawing. They are fine fellows to your mind, are they not?''To my mind,' retorted Bazarov, 'Raphael's not worth a brass farthing; and they're no better than he.'the tiny space I occupy is so infinitely small in comparison with the rest of space, in which I am not, and which has nothing to do with me; and the period of time in which it is my lot to live is so petty beside the eternity in which I have not been, and shall not be... P 144'Bravo! bravo! Listen, Arkady ... that's how young men of to-day ought to express themselves! And if you come to think of it, how could they fail to follow you! In old days, young men had to study; they didn't want to be called dunces, so they had to work hard whether they liked it or not. But now, they need only say, "Everything in the world is foolery!" and the trick's done. Young men are delighted. And, to be sure, they were simply geese before, and now they have suddenly turned nihilists.'Chap. 10'And now, I say again, good-bye, for it's useless to deceive ourselves—we are parting for good, and you know that yourself ... you have acted sensibly; you're not made for our bitter, rough, lonely existence. There's no dash, no hate in you, but you've the daring of youth and the fire of youth. Your sort, you gentry, can never get beyond refined submission or refined indignation, and that's no good. You won't fight—and yet you fancy yourselves gallant chaps—but we mean to fight. Oh well! Our dust would get into your eyes, our mud would bespatter you, but yet you're not up to our level, you're admiring yourselves unconsciously, you like to abuse yourselves; but we're sick of that—we want something else! we want to smash other people! You're a capital fellow; but you're a sugary, liberal snob for all that—ay volla-too, as my parent is fond of saying.'chap XXVI(less)more
Even though the conflict between generations is centered around the historical event of the emancipation of the russian serfs, it is relevant to every generational conflict. The extremists at either end will never understand each other, yet there is a delightful middle ground to be struck and exist happily in. The characters were more life like than anything I've read in a long while, which turned what could have been a relatively dull classic into a page turner. I cared about his portraits.more
Read all 30 reviews

Reviews

This book throws me back to my teens, a time when I read all the great Russian authors. I really like this book, because it captured the atmosphere of the times. It does so in a style that is more gentle than Dostoevsky; and reaches down into the character of the protagonists. I wish, however, that it went deeper into the relationship between the generations. But then, that is my wish only!more
Paperback (edit)review This is the kind of book to read while still in college or in high school. Youth, realizing how bad and corrupt things are in the world become disillusioned and want to change it. In Fathers and Sons, Bazarov wants to destroy it, for he is a nihilist. This book is good on many different levels. It's a great historical piece, reflecting what was going on in Russia in the mid-19th century. Students were coming back from colleges in Western Europe, in some cases they were forcibly recalled by Russian law. These students, filled with ideas about how things can be, or taken aback at the backward customs and rituals in Russia. In the book, Barazrov and Arkady are two such students. Bazarov is the one with the fire in the belly. He wants to destroy the whole Russian system which resemble feudalism. The book documents his views and his fights with the landowners and the Fathers of Russia. It's also a great reflection of generational conflict. The young, wanting to change the world, the old who feel their ideas are fads to pass with time. There is even condescension about these ideas. I thought this was an excellent passage that reflected this:"Of course gentlemen, you know best; how could we keep pace with you? You are here to take our places. In my day, too, there was some sort of Humouralist school, Hoffman, and brown too with his vitalism--they seemed ridiculous to us, but, of course, they too had been great men at one time or another. Some one new has taken the place of Rademacher with you; you bow down to him, but in another twenty years it will be his turn to be laughed at." P 135When I read about generationally conflict today, this book reminds me how long that conflict has been going on. It gives me a better understanding of it. I felt the ending was a bit bleak. The man wanting change and railing against the system becomes a victim of it and dies, representing that death of progress in Russia at the time (the students were roundly rejected by the system and even by the peasants they were trying to help). Overall an excellent and short book. More passages: Then we suspected that talk, perpetual talk, and nothing but talk, about our social diseases, was not worth while, that it all led to nothing but superficiality and pedantry; we saw that our leading men, so-called advanced people and reformers, are no good; that we busy ourselves over foolery, talk rubbish about art, unconscious creativeness, parliamentarism, trial by jury, and the deuce knows what all; while, all the while, it's a question of getting bread to eat, while we're stifling under the grossest superstition, while all our enterprises come to grief, simply because there aren't honest men enough to carry them on, while the very emancipation our Government's busy upon will hardly come to any good, because peasants are glad to rob even themselves to get drunk at the gin-shop.' chap 5...es, yes. First a pride almost Satanic, then ridicule—that, that's what it is attracts the young, that's what gains an ascendancy over the inexperienced hearts of boys! Here's one of them sitting beside you, ready to worship the ground under your feet. Look at him! (Arkady turned away and frowned.) And this plague has spread far already. I have been told that in Rome our artists never set foot in the Vatican. Raphael they regard as almost a fool, because, if you please, he's an authority; while they're all the while most disgustingly sterile and unsuccessful, men whose imagination does not soar beyond 'Girls at a Fountain,' however they try! And the girls even out of drawing. They are fine fellows to your mind, are they not?''To my mind,' retorted Bazarov, 'Raphael's not worth a brass farthing; and they're no better than he.'the tiny space I occupy is so infinitely small in comparison with the rest of space, in which I am not, and which has nothing to do with me; and the period of time in which it is my lot to live is so petty beside the eternity in which I have not been, and shall not be... P 144'Bravo! bravo! Listen, Arkady ... that's how young men of to-day ought to express themselves! And if you come to think of it, how could they fail to follow you! In old days, young men had to study; they didn't want to be called dunces, so they had to work hard whether they liked it or not. But now, they need only say, "Everything in the world is foolery!" and the trick's done. Young men are delighted. And, to be sure, they were simply geese before, and now they have suddenly turned nihilists.'Chap. 10'And now, I say again, good-bye, for it's useless to deceive ourselves—we are parting for good, and you know that yourself ... you have acted sensibly; you're not made for our bitter, rough, lonely existence. There's no dash, no hate in you, but you've the daring of youth and the fire of youth. Your sort, you gentry, can never get beyond refined submission or refined indignation, and that's no good. You won't fight—and yet you fancy yourselves gallant chaps—but we mean to fight. Oh well! Our dust would get into your eyes, our mud would bespatter you, but yet you're not up to our level, you're admiring yourselves unconsciously, you like to abuse yourselves; but we're sick of that—we want something else! we want to smash other people! You're a capital fellow; but you're a sugary, liberal snob for all that—ay volla-too, as my parent is fond of saying.'chap XXVI(less)more
Even though the conflict between generations is centered around the historical event of the emancipation of the russian serfs, it is relevant to every generational conflict. The extremists at either end will never understand each other, yet there is a delightful middle ground to be struck and exist happily in. The characters were more life like than anything I've read in a long while, which turned what could have been a relatively dull classic into a page turner. I cared about his portraits.more
One of my all time favorites.more
Possibly the first modern Russian novel. The central figures Barazov and Arkady show a marked contrast in their eventual approaches to life. Bazarov is a self-professed nihilist, believing that the established order should always be challenged.Arkady is initially in thrall to Bazarov's tenets, to the extent that he risks alienating his old-fashioned father and even more traditional uncle. The novel is one of self discovery, though, and Arkady eventually marries Katya Lokteva, having previously been infatuated with her elder sister Anna. However, it is Bazarov who falls irredeemably in love with Anna, thus compromising the beliefs that have been the pillar of his entire being.more
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