On the Eve
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On the Eve

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3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  1,077 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Though essentially a love story with a historical background, On the Eve hints in its title at social and political implications which no Russian reader could miss when it appeared in 1859. Turgenev's study of Elena Stahov, in love with a Bulgarian revolutionary, is a memorable achievement of character-drawing, but the authors artistry is nowhere more clearly shown than in...more
Paperback, Penguin Classics, 234 pages
Published April 30th 1950 by Penguin Books Ltd (first published 1860)
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Fionnuala
So, we are on the eve of a new day here on goodreads. We have been batting ideas back and forth about what the giant female warrior will do to our community in a similar way to Turgenev's characters who spend long paragraphs meditating on the issues of their day. Like them, some of us must be asking the question: is it better to muddle through our lives peacefully, concentrating on reading, ideas and art or should we take action?
Some among us have talked about emigrating to a nearby country but...more
Fionnuala
My Reading Life: Or How I went from Reading Turgenev to Reading Mann

The pattern of our reading lives can be as comfortable and predictable as everyday life or as creative and thought provoking as the books we read. Take my own case: I often mosey along well worn tracks quite happily, certain of finding familiar works which will be both pleasurable and rewarding. Then, suddenly, a detail will intrigue me and before I know it, I’ve been propelled sideways onto an undiscovered trail which inevitabl...more
Don
Fairly well-off small town girl falls in love with student revolutionary. Rejection of bourgeois hypocrisy? Selfless devotion to a "noble cause"? Youthful indiscretion? "Man of action" pose as successful reproductive strategy, at least as compared to "the artist" or the "selfless but boring" type? All of the above? The moral might be don't be phony with the girl you love, or, alternatively, make sure your daughter has plenty of guys to choose from.

Good introduction: http://www.theguardian.com/bo...more
Bryn Hammond
Revisited. Turgenev's short novels were second to Dostoyevsky for me, as far as Russians go (and Russians go far). Though I can see why Turgenev's despair of Russia as instanced here might have annoyed D... 'Go to foreign parts'. Anyhow, never mind that. I can also see why this one spoke closely to me as a girl. Yelena is a serious girl who needs an ethical and active life, and finds a freedom fight to throw herself into -- Bulgaria from the Turks. I was always impressed by Turgenev's young wome...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
Exquisite.

First, so expressive, the prose makes me swoon. And I am not a swooner (is there such a word as swooner?).
Elena listened to him very attentively, and turning half towards him, did not take her eyes off his face, which had grown a little paler--off his eyes, which were soft and affectionate, though they avoided meeting her eyes. Her soul expanded, and something tender, holy, and good seemed half sinking into her heart, half springing up within it.

Second, how is it a male of the 1860s...more
Kay
Ah, friendship, love, idealism -- in a word, Turgenev!

The "eve" in question is the start of the Crimean war. The setting, however, is provincial Russia (as usual in Turgenev's work) and the characters are a small circle of close friends. They're prone to earnest philosophical discussion. There's a slightly complex romance that drives the plot, and as might be expected things ultimately don't turn out well for the lovers. (This is, after all, a Russian novel.) If that sounds a bit pat, then let m...more
Tracy
This read a bit like a Jane Austen in some ways. Boy meets girl, boy is a Bulgarian revolutionary, girl is from a well heeled family in Russia and stares out of the window a lot. It was a good translation though and managed to put across the story without losing the nuance too much. When one of the characters (Shubin) spoke about the lack of inspiring people in their immediate cirle it made me think of people twittering on social network sites today:

'' ...It's all either minnows and mice and li...more
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in October 1999.

Turgenev's short novel is based around a memoir written by a friend, who suggested he might like to turn it into a novel. It tells the stories of a small group of upper class teenagers in Russia on the eve of the outbreak of the Crimean War. Elena comes from a home troubled by the infidelities of her father, and this has hardly given her a taste for any kind of marriage that might be arranged by her parents. She is loved by one of a small grou...more
Karlo Mikhail
On the Eve by Ivan Turgenev is a love story, the plot of which most of us today would find commonplace. When the novel first appeared, however, this story of a young upper class Russian lady falling in love with a Bulgarian revolutionary caused quite a stir among its readers.

With the novel’s publication in 1861, the book’s translator Gilbert Gardiner commented in the introduction, “People argued about the heroes of the story as they might have done about the real people – their characters, their...more
Suchi banerjee
a very touching story that one is bound to remember for a really long time. i had read this book in the 8th or 9th standard but it remains as close to heart today as it did all those years back.
Fotini
Για άλλη μια φορά δυστυχώς θα πρέπει να επικαλεστώ «δυσανεξία» στους ρώσους κλασικούς με τους οποίους προσπαθώ εδώ και χρόνια για μια καλή σχέση, χωρίς όμως επιτυχία.

Ήταν ένα βιβλίο που δεν θα προσπαθούσα να ολοκληρώσω αν δεν ήμουν γοητευμένη από τον ίδιο το συγγραφέα και κάποιες θέσεις του σχετικά με τη λογοτεχνία. Σε ότι αφορά αναφορές στη φύση, η γραφή του, λιτή πάντα, είναι μαγική σχεδόν ποιητική, μέσα από μικρές καθημερινές παρατηρήσεις σε αναγκάζει να δεις τα πράγματα από μια άλλη οπτική.

Δ...more
Kyle
Between my finishing On The Eve and writing this review, it has turned from a 5 star book to a 3 star, and I shall do my best to explain why this is.

When I finished On The Eve, I was blown away by my sympathy for the characters and their struggles, especially that of Shubin and his egotistical love for himself and Elena. The opening scene of two intellectuals discussing nature and love melted my heart, and I fell in love with the book. Furthermore, the lyrical descriptions of the Russian country...more
Massimo
"Смерть как рыбак, который поймал рыбу в свою сеть и оставляет ее на время в воде: рыба еще плавает, но сеть на ней; и рыбак выхватит ее - когда захочет".
Kate
One of my favorite Turgenev novels (Smoke is still my favorite). This one (like Smoke) is about Romantic youth on the eve of revolution, and how they're all stupid. Shubin is a florid, overly emotional sculptor. Berzeniev is a student with a stick up his ass. Insarov is a Bulgarian revolutionary. Zoya is a brain-dead German. Turgenev spends a fair amount of time making fun of Germans in this novel, so if you're into that, then you should probably read this book. Elena is at the center of this no...more
George
WONDERFULLY WRITTEN MELANCHOLIA.

“The duet began, the best thing in the opera, in which the composer had succeeded in expressing all the pathos of the senseless waste of youth, the final struggle of despairing, helpless love.”—page 121

Is there an ambrosia as sweet as the drug of young love? In his novel, ‘On the Eve,’ Ivan Turgenev offers all the ambrosia and pathos of young love, and an excellent study of four character types. The temperamental artist, “…a man of no principles”; the studiously p...more
Lee
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Neem
three words can sum up this book: beautiful, touching, fantastic!!

one of the few books that leaves a print in your memory, loved it from A to Z
Philip Lane
Beautifully written, wistful and romantic this story of provincial Russia combines history, philosophy and sociology. The characters are distinct and well drawn. The language is beautiful but easy to read. The central story is a fairly typical love story but the background of historic turmoil and the conflict of romantic love and patriotism makes it more interesting.i would think feminists would appreciate as Elena, the heroine, is very strong and whilst brought up in a patriarchal society, is d...more
Anna
За что вы с нами так поступаете, Иван Сергеевич? Это несколько бесчеловечно выпускать в свет такое сильное и чувственное произведение. Сердце щемило в груди и невольно накатывались слезы и счастья и безнадежной тоски и несправедливости во время чтения вашего романа. Вы создаете замечательные, живые образы и чувства, а потом выжигаете их на корню... Инсаров и Елена пополнили для меня список сильных персонажей.

Но насколько он лучше меня! Он спокоен, а я в вечной тревоге; у него есть дорога, есть
...more
Annelida
Man, I really need to brush up on my history!
Well, this novel wasn't Turgenev at his best, but nevertheless it was an enthralling read. I recommend this to anyone who likes a nice, historic read. I mean, a lot of the book's plot has to do with war. You really have to understand the conditions of that time. (Which is why I have to get rid of the rust on my memory...) But yes. Definitely. Russian literature, classic literature fans, read it. You won't regret it. Oh yeah, half way through you migh...more
Ashley Cale
To anyone who thinks the Darcy/Lizzy dialogue cannot be surpassed literarily, you must read On the Eve! The scene Turgenev crafts in the meeting between Insarov and Elena in the chapel might sway you... Gorgeous work (at least in Penguin's translation!)...

A beautifully written novel with a lovely cast of characters from the mischievous, often foolhardy sculptor Shubin to the "Spirit of the Black Earth" Uvar Ivanovitch and his "flourishing fingers"...
A slim volume that you can easily finish in tw...more
Linda
This is the only edition of the title I can find so have had to use this rather than the beautifully bound and illustrated Folio Society edition David gave me for my birthday. He must be trying to broaden my reading experience! This may well be a classic but it's not the first book I would pick off the shelf, being a typically gloomy Russian tale. You definitely have to get your mind into the period to read some classic literature. Glad I read it but won't be rushing to find another Turgenev tit...more
علی
یکی از اولین رمان های تورگنیف، داستان عشقی آمیخته با فلسفه، در مورد النا، مادرش و پدرش که یک ارتشی بازنشسته است و معشوقه ای دارد. عصر روزی که جنگ کریمه آغاز می شود، النا به یک انقلابی بلغاری به نام اینسارف دل می بندند، پنهانی با او ازدواج می کند. والدینش که انتظار دارند او با یک شهری محترم ازدواج کند، خشمگین می شوند. اینسارف بیمار می شود و در حال بهبودی ست که خبر آغاز جنگ کریمه به او می رسد و به وطن دعوت می شود. آنها به سوی بلغارستان حرکت می کنند اما در راه، النا در ونیز می میرد و دیگر خبری از ا...more
Jen Herr
“Death is like a fisherman, who, having caught a fish in his net, leaves it in the water for a time; the fish continues to swim about, but all the while the net is round it, and the fishermen will snatch it out in his own good time.”

One of my favorites from the Russians thus far. Though it has undoubtedly proven that my knowledge of the Crimean War is shaky at best. I definitely see a lot of research on the Ottoman Empire in my future as well.
Larry
This was one of the first Russian Classics I read as a teenager and while sometimes rereading a favourite in later in life can somewhat dim the bright lights of remembrance and enthusiasm ...well not in this case by a country mile!! I reread this book every few years to reintroduce myself to this cast of unforgettable characters and a romance that is timeless and aching.
Mary Schwarz
Another great Russian writer...in this short story, Turgenev creates characters you sympathize with and yet foresee their tragic end from the beginning. Despite that, you still hope for the best. Another interesting book for the historical context, but even those who have little Russian history knowledge will admire the beautiful descriptions and dialogue.
Mary
Turgenev's ability to create sympathetic characters in just a few chapters draws you immediately into the story. Despite the tragic end you suspect all along, you still hope for the best. The historical context of the book is interesting to students of Russian history, but even those who have little knowledge will enjoy the beautiful descriptions and the plot.
Coco
I love Turgenev for his ability to tear at heartstrings, and my god, this Russian will tear at heart strings.
This book was a book and then thirty or so pages of shit related to Venice. I found this really odd, a Russian love story that seems as it was written by a totally different person at the end. Never mind all that. I love Turgenev regardless.
T P Kennedy
This is one of those books that makes a major impression when it's read at a young age. Read somewhat later in life, you're left wondering what you saw the first time around. It's a perfectly good account of young love, patriotism and the demands of daily life. Nothing more than that though. Give me Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky any day.
Jonfaith
The enchantment of the young and educated is reflected accurately: equal mesaures of sloth and self-importance dominate the early stages of On The Eve. The arrival of the fourth element to the friendly hormonal triangle throws the plot onto a different spur we arrive in familar territory a few chapters down the rails.
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410680
Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev (Cyrillic: Иван Сергеевич Тургенев) was a novelist, poet and dramatist, and now ranks as one of the towering figures of Russian literature. His major works include the short-story collection A Sportsman’s Sketches (1852) and the novels Rudin (1856), Home of the Gentry (1859), On the Eve (1860), and Fathers and Sons (1862). These works offer realistic, affectionate portray...more
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“Death is like a fisherman who has caught a fish in his net and leaves it for a time in the water: the fish still swims about, but the net surrounds it, and the fisherman will take it when he wishes.” 4 likes
“Run along, my friend, Andrei Petrovitch, put a hat on your learned head, and let us go where our eyes lead us. Our eyes are young--they may lead us far.” 2 likes
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