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Fathers and Sons

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3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  34,367 ratings  ·  912 reviews
Written as a response to the growing cultural schism between liberals of the 1830s/1840s & the growing nihilist movement, Fathers & Sons parallels both the nihilists (the "sons") & the 1830s liberals who sought Western-based social change in Russia. Additionally, these two modes of thought were contrasted with the conservative Slavophiles, who believed that Rus ...more
Paperback, 244 pages
Published February 1st 2005 by Signet Classics (first published 1862)
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Edward Drobinski I refrain from giving advice, especially since the results of any of my "brilliance" left me as fucked up as anyone else. Having said that; my recent…moreI refrain from giving advice, especially since the results of any of my "brilliance" left me as fucked up as anyone else. Having said that; my recent excursions into the world of literature suggest to me that brevity has become a popular virtue. If it were me, I would stick with the play, unless some enlargement actually adds more to the story. My credentials; favorite of a few weirdos and no sales. (less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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knig
Fathers and Sons (FS) apparently pleased no one on in Russia on publication, and if not precisely ‘shocked’ the muchadumbre, then surely ruffled feathers and rubbed salt in fresh wounds: that, in any event, is the general promise in the blurb on the back cover of the book. Goody. I like a scandal better than the next person, for sure. So I tore into it with gusto.

Alas, though. There is no scandal to be had here. I mean, not even remotely: not even a whiff of it. The big brouhaha seems to evolve
...more
Aubrey
My main issue with this book: too short. An odd thing to think of when the too short object in question is a Russian novel concerning cultural upheaval and aristocracy and all sorts of young ones running around screeching newfangled ideas at the top of their lungs, but 'tis true.

A while back, someone somewhere on Goodreads coined the term 'soap opera with brains', a literature type that hasn't popped up in my reading since The Age of Reason but can be (much more enjoyably, I dare say) applied h
...more
Tim Wagner
If you want to read a great Russian novel, but your wrists are to weak for Karenina or Brothers K, this is your jam. It's almost allegorical in its deployment of the characters' various philosophies, but they're so human it's like watching Chekhov play across the page. For a book written in the mid-late 19th century, it's amazingly relevant: a pithy study of conservativism, liberalism, radicalism, quietism, and filial love and rebellion. The bad-tempered anarchist, Bazarov, is a character for th ...more
MJ Nicholls
Tremendous. Forget the patchy, barely coherent A Hero of Our Time. This is your pre-Tolstoy, pre-Dostoevsky (almost—excusing a decade or two) Russian masterpiece. Do you want to be a nihilist with a casual interest in botany and medicine? Do you sneer at aristocratic values but have the hots for a milf with a vassal-soaked estate? Do you treat your father’s house like a hotel, and only pay fleeting three-year visits, during which you torment your poor mother and her servants? Do you want to snog ...more
Fionnuala
I started reading this looking for clues to William Trevor’s Reading Turgenev but I didn’t really find many - I’ve since realised that Trevor was mostly referring to a different Turgenev novel On The Eve. In fact Fathers and Sons has more in common with another book I read recently, Belinda McKeon’s Solace. Both novels are concerned with the gaps in comprehension between people of different generations, in particular between fathers and sons and the tensions that arise as a result of these gaps ...more
Lit Bug
I suspect ‘Fathers and Sons’ is too deeply a product of its particular time and place to be enjoyable now without a sense of the Russian history that has molded this novel into what it is. I began without a background, and though it was agreeable all the way through, I really didn’t find it gripping enough – surely it was an evergreen conflict, even if not on every count? The struggle between the titular Fathers and Sons is an eternal one, and I was surprised at my reluctance to engage with the ...more
Lee
A proto-punk and a proto-metrosexual demand satisfaction from one another because the first macked on the latter's bro's baby mama. The gentry can't really rage against the machine, they're jackdaws, domesticated dogs. Guys in their early twenties have apparently always sort of sucked, albeit in an intellectually sexy way as long as they don't lack confidence. Repudiate, repudiate, repudiate, champion only what's useful, no authority other than oneself. Blame testosterone plus higher education? ...more
Ali
To begin with, I never intended to read 'Fathers and Sons' by Turgenev in the first place; rather, it was one of the lesser known works of this lesser known Russian master, 'Sketches from a hunter's album' that I sought so eagerly. But after searching for the latter endlessly, my efforts proved futile as I was unable to get my hands on it. Later, I remember stumbling upon an excerpt of 'Fathers and Sons', and it piqued my curiosity. The excerpt was such:

“Whereas I think: I’m lying here in a hays
...more
·Karen·
In the first 58 pages, up to the end of Chapter XI, the ideas are clear black and white, no equivocation or ambiguity. Arkady and Bazarov arrive at Arkady’s father’s estate, where the father, Nikolay Petrovich lives with his brother Pavel and Nikolay’s charming, extremely youthful what? lover? mistress? common-law wife? In any case they have a son together, but everything is sweetness and light, because Arkady is not resentful of the new heir: he is a thoroughly modern man, not nearly as scandal ...more
Darwin8u
This is a novel that should probably be read by everybody (fathers, sons, mothers, daughters) at 18 years and again at 50 years. I'm somewhere in between, but it still enchanted me. 'Fathers and Sons' themes are universal, but also very relevant to Russia in the 1860s (post Emancipation Reform of 1861).

IT is about the struggles between generations. It is is a novel about beauty, love, relationships, power, social etiquitte, etc. The duality of the generations in 'Fathers and Sons' allowed Turge
...more
Chrissie
I REALLLLLY, really, really, really liked this. I fell in love with Yevgeny Vasil'evich Bazarov – yeah, the nihilist. I am not one to favor nihilism; it is the wrong philosophy to have in life. But you know how it is - the way you love your children. You love them regardless of their silly ideas, regardless of what they do, regardless of the mean things they may say to you. You still love them with all your heart. You would do anything to save them. Well, I fell in love with Yevgeny in that way. ...more
Evan
"Every single man hangs by a thread, a bottomless pit can open beneath him any minute, and yet he still goes on thinking up unpleasantness for himself and making a mess of his life." -Bazarov, in Fathers and Sons

Finally, a dusty old classic that lives up to its reputation. Turgenev's Fathers and Sons is pleasingly warm and crisply distilled vodka, a rich and pungent family saga that even a mildly disappointing heart-tugging finale can't ruin. It's like Russia's Catcher in the Rye but from way wa
...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
Cheap and ubiquitous. I bought a copy once for the price of a newspaper. Months later, forgetting that I already have a copy, I bought another one because it was priced so low that it was practically a giveaway. Recently, seeing my two almost identical copies I decided to finally read it already, fearing that if I don't do so, I might forget again and be lured into buying another copy, cheaper and more handsome.

About halfway through the novel was where it lost a lone star from me. And 'twas not
...more
Dorcas
As beautifully as Turgenov writes (and he is a master of his craft),and as much as I love Russian Lit, I cannot give this book three stars because that would mean that I enjoyed it, and I didn't.

I can't tell you how many times I wanted to mark this as did-not-finish and toss it across the room it was sooooo frustrating to me. I'm not keen on philosophy in general, and couple that with a philosophy I can't disagree with more strongly and, well, you have a rather disagreeable experience.

Nihilism:
...more
Lavinia
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kalliope
This is not a review.

But today there have been many exchanges on several of the reviews on this book at GR, and I just found this link to an essay by Henry James on Turgenev, and I did not know where to hang it.

http://www.eldritchpress.org/ist/hjam...
Ivana
If Candide was a critique of a philosophical system that is unrealistically positive, Fathers and Sons is a critique of one that is overly negative. Student Bazarov is a nihilist, a person who does not believe in anything. His young friend Kirsanov is heavily influenced by him. Moreover, Kirsanov is not the only one since Bazarov seems to posses a fair amount of charisma.

Both young men come into conflict with their parents and the world that surrounds them. Both young men are well developed cha
...more
Julie Bozza
Wow. Just really excellent. Terrific characters and story from Turgenev, served very well (I think) by a lively translation by Freeborn. While I have to admit to being more in sympathy with Arkady than Bazarov, the latter is one of those vivid characters who seem both so very real and so very much larger than life. As with Home of the Gentry, Turgenev manages to convey entire ways of life within a short, easy-to-read novel. I look on in awe.
Kathaileen
This novel could also be called “Generations” It’s how two different sons and fathers deal with the changes happening around them. The book starts when Arkady returns home from school with his friend Bazarov to the home of his father, Nicholas. His uncle Pavel also lives there. Nicholas is trying to stay with the times and has set his serfs free, but his estate has fallen into disrepair. He also has been having a relationship with a former servant, Fenichka, and has fathered a child.
Bazarov is v
...more
Wil
Jun 25, 2007 Wil rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: bookgroup
Turgenev's Fathers and Sons deals with the return of a son to his father's estate, after graduating from university. Nikolai, the father, has attempted to be liberal and progressive, but can not help feel that his son's new ideas have dated his own. This ideological struggle between generations begins the story that brought about one of the biggest literary controversies in Russia.

Traditionalists felt vindicated in their beliefs by the book, while the new 'nihilists' felt ridiculed in the charac
...more
Cosmic Arcata
I am rereading this book. I have stopped to read Kraft Und Stoff. I didn't realize how significant this would be to my understanding of this book and of Russian History in general. Not just Russian History but also modern history. The role that schools played that led up to the Bolshevik revolution. So I may com back and update my review after I read Kraft Und Stoff.

Some questions I would answers to. Was Arkady representing "force" and Bazarov representing "matter"? If so how are these different
...more
Dan
Some thoughts:

1. Every time I pick up a Russian novel I'm always surprised by how leisurely the term prince and princess are thrown around, and I can never remember why. I am done looking for the answer so I am just going to assume it’s because there is a shit-ton of royalty in that vast country.

2. It feels weird when the narrator addresses the reader. It happens a few times. It's strange but charming.

3. Why the hell are Russian's always obscuring place and street names? I can't think of (m)an
...more
Skylar Burris
At times, Turgenev's use of the language borders on poetry. The characters are intriguing and sympathetic. The novel deals beautifully with man's inability to live without holding something sacred, and its tragic "hero" goes to the grave realizing that he has been trying to fill that void with "straw" instead of something more meaningful--like faith, or family, or true love. Some critics have said that Turgenev supported the "nihilists," the young men who scoffed at all things sacred. They say ...more
Sophie
Turgenev's Fathers and Sons mainly deals with the subject of different ideologies and the struggle to remain true to our beliefs. Simultaneously, the plot is full of characteristics that express everlasting emotions, such as love, pride, obligation, an aspect that brings complexity to the novel.
All in all, an amazing book, one of the best novels I've read this year, and an excellent food for thought, about having absolute standards and worldviews.
Mike
3.5 stars. I would've liked it much more when I was younger, but, nearing eighty, the first thoughts and loves and rebellions and other conceits of the characters were a bit flat. Reading it felt a little like watching kittens--their behavior is amusing and endearing but every miscalculated jump and tumble is foreseen.
Mohnish
19CRW(19th century Russian writers) can't seem to stop reproaching the younger generation as it indulged in nihilism, so as to save humanity from falling into the sinful pit of depraved degeneracy.

Guess what?...They failed. But at least the world is not inhabited by PHP's(Pushkin hating philistines).

Theorizing a world of nihilists:

1)There would be no wars because subversive egocentric people wouldn't part with their lives for the benefit of rich old capitalists, petty squabbles like religious
...more
Uncle
“A good chemist is more useful than a score of poets,” Bazarov interrupted him.

Turgenev’s novel Fathers and Sons (1862) is set in the society of landowning families in rural 19th century Russia. The “sons” of the novel’s title, Arkady Kirsanov and his free-thinking, opinionated friend Bazarov, return to their country homes after a long absence spent in the intellectually heady world of student life in St. Petersburg. Fathers and Sons tells the story of their complicated reunion with their own f
...more
Arwen56
Lascio a penne più esperte ed edotte in materia di quanto non sia la mia il compito di delineare e sottolineare gli aspetti prettamente storici che fanno da sfondo a questo romanzo: la riforma agraria, il nichilismo e la società russa in generale. Nel mio piccolo preferisco soffermarmi solo sulla vicenda narrata.

Confesso di non avere oggi, né di avere avuto mai un buon rapporto con gli scrittori russi. Mi sono ostici. Li trovo, in linea di massima, dispersivi, cervellotici, confusi, contradditt
...more
Lilly
19th century Russian literature is a unique literary universe on its own and even though Turgenev is not in my top 5 Russian giants of the era, this book of his is definitely a must read. I do recommend reading it in Russian, the translations I have read so far are rather cumbersome. Turgenev effortlessly guides the reader through his visions and manages to transmit profound ideas in a way that is truly captivating and entertaining.

Fathers and Sons relates not only the generation gap in 19th cen
...more
Cleo
What sort of relationship do you have with your father? Is it one of respect, deference, and honour, or do you think his ways too traditional, his thought process too archaic, and to keep a tentative understanding between you, do you have to employ a somewhat forced amiability, while underneath feeling an impatient scorn?

In Fathers and Sons, Turgenev examines the ideas of the new and old, progress and stagnation, and generational differences. Yet while Turgenev portrays these conflicts within fa
...more
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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
More about Ivan Turgenev...
Mumu Sketches from a Hunter's Album First Love Spring Torrents  Home of the Gentry

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“We sit in the mud my friend and reach for the stars” 151 likes
“Whereas I think: I’m lying here in a haystack... The tiny space I occupy is so infinitesimal in comparison with the rest of space, which I don’t occupy and which has no relation to me. And the period of time in which I’m fated to live is so insignificant beside the eternity in which I haven’t existed and won’t exist... And yet in this atom, this mathematical point, blood is circulating, a brain is working, desiring something... What chaos! What a farce!” 70 likes
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