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Sketches from a Hunter's Album

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  4,175 ratings  ·  98 reviews
Turgenev's first major prose work is a series of twenty-five Sketches: the observations and anecdotes of the author during his travels through Russia satisfying his passion for hunting. His album is filled with moving insights into the lives of those he encounters peasants and landowners, doctors and bailiffs, neglected wives and bereft mothers each providing a glimpse of ...more
Paperback, 403 pages
Published December 10th 1990 by Penguin Classics (first published 1852)
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Mohit Parikh
Sep 22, 2012 Mohit Parikh rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Russian Literature Fans, Nature Lovers, Fans of Honest Writing
"Reading this first work of Turgenev's I tried as far as possible to prolong my enjoyment, often laying the book down on my knees; I rejoiced the naive customs and charming pictures of which I was given a delightful collection in each of the stories of this book..."
- Alphonse de Lamartine

Turgenev's portrayal of life of serfs has a distant compassion and admiration, which is some times even (though very rarely and never blatantly) elegiac. This book was apparently a reaction to what he observed i
Ivan Turgenev is probably the least known of the Russian trio of Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy and Turgenev but nonetheless you should read him if you want to boast that you’ve read ‘the Russians’.

Sketches from a Hunter’s Album is a lesser known work of this lesser known Russian, written before his big novel Fathers and Sons.

“Oh, you think everyone's interesting. That's because you're a Red. I don't. I believe that quite a lot of people were just manufactured when God was thinking of something else," say
Apr 20, 2013 Lobstergirl rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Borzois
Shelves: own, fiction, russia

I bought this for the cover art. I love everything about Jevgraf Fiodorovitch Krendovsky's 1836 painting Preparations for Hunting (in the Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow). The calm, subdued, but rich color palette, the glances the young hunters, and the young boy on the left, are giving each other, the angles of arms and legs, the devoted hunting dog with its paw on its master's leg, the attention to details of fashion and outerwear. It many ways it's a perfect choice for cover art for the book (so mu
Vince Donovan
Like a lot of my five-star books, this one has significance to me that extends beyond the words on the page. Years ago I got to talking about books with a really beautiful bartender at the old San Francisco Brewing Company. I said how I hadn't read much of the Russians (echoing something Ezra Pound says in Hemingway's A Moveable Feast. I think Pound actually says Rooskies). The woman put her hands over her heart and looked to heaven: "Oh Turgenev!" she said. "Turgenev!". Obviously that tugged my ...more
In his Preface to "The Seasons" the Scottish poet James Thomson wrote, "I know no subject more elevating, more amazing, more ready to poetical enthusiasm, the philosophical reflection, and the moral sentiment than the works of nature. Where can we meet such variety, such beauty, such magnificence?"
This is a theme that runs through the Sketches From a Hunter's Album. The beauty of the sylvan glade or the summer sun glistening off the meadows flowers is brought to life by the prose of Turgenev in
Mohit Sharma
This one transported me back the old Russia of 1850s, Russia of my childhood. Turgenev is different from both Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, yet their equal in stature, a true master of prose. Sketches depict life of peasants and landlords in pre-1850(before serfdom was abolished)Russia, from the eyes of a nobleman hunter, always on the move, as he passes through all forms of life, observing with equanimity and keenness, all sorts of cruelty, wretchedness, and quirks and foibles of people around him. ...more
Turgenev có một giọng văn tả đẹp hết sức. "Bút ký người đi săn" là tuyển tập những truyện ngắn kể lại dưới cái nhìn của một "người đi săn" hay chính là tác giả, một vị quý tộc có cái thú ấy.

Truyện đi săn thật thì ít, mà hình ảnh những người nông dân cũng như địa chủ mà tác giả gặp gỡ thì nhiều. Có đa dạng loại người trong tác phẩm với đủ các tính tốt xấu, các nết quái gở, nhưng dường như ai cũng hiện lên đẹp đẽ hơn nhờ cái nhìn rất hiền hậu của tác giả.

Nhưng chẳng hiểu sao tôi có cảm giác băn
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
The Book Report: This edition of "A Sportsman's Sketches" or "Sketches from a Hunter's Album" contains 13 of a possible 25 short fictions published by the tyro writer in Russia's preeminent literary magazine, The Contemporary, from 1847 to 1851. These were his first prose outpourings, designed to sustain his independent life far away from his autocratic and abusive mother. He brought these luminous, beautiful vignettes to life in partial imitation of his beloved's husband's work...Louis Viardot, ...more
Charles Samuels
To read the criticism and blurbs about the political import of Turgenev's masterpiece is to miss the point entirely. This isn't a book about socio-economic inequality or even a book about tyranny and oppression. He makes no judgements other than to say that some habits of society can be a little constricting and sometimes pointless. The real joy of this book is in the reading. Trees, shrubs, birds, serfs, generals, and gentry are all treated with equal love, precision, and delicacy. One gets the ...more
One of the finest books I've ever read. It sits on the top shelf with those few select novels that really changed my life. Historically, the book was instrumental in swaying public opinion, particularly among the aristocracy, towards emancipating the serfs.

The stories are really the account of a cultural anthropologist disguised as a 'sportsman'. He isn't really terribly interested in hunting; no, his true fascination is with the peasants that accompany him and that he encounters along the way.
Suggested to me by Hemingway, who was reading it in A Misspelled Moveable Feast, and I had to read it, too. And I took it on a deer-hunting trip to Maine, and we got snowed in, and the Franklin wood-burning stove glowed in the kitchen for days as I read and I read and was completely submersed in Turgenev's magical world of peasants and hunting noblemen. Sometimes where you read a book stamps it forever in your heart.
Julie Bozza
Beautiful descriptions of the Russian countryside, and interesting portraits of Russian serfs, free men and landowners. The happiest and most wonderful person in the book was a woman who is dealing with a terminal illness with truly saintly patience. So, not exactly the cheeriest read, but it was involving - and if it's true that it helped convince the Tsar to abolish serfdom, then I cry 'Huzzah!'
This is the first Russian author I read, on recommendation from one Guy de Maupassant (who came to me by way of recommendation from one E. A. Poe), and served as my entrance to literature beyond the $5.99 paperback.
Jakey Gee
Five stars, but for one glaring omission which no realist portrait of rural Russia in any century can surely be forgiven: mosquitoes.
This is not Turgenev's best work, but it is worth a read. The Sketches are just that - short pictures of life in the Russian countryside from the point of view of a narrator who wanders across it on hunting trips. His writing about the scenery - the sky, the seasons, the land - is beautifully descriptive and lyrical:

And a summer morning in July! Has anyone but a hunter eve experienced the delight of wandering through bushes at dawn? Your feet leave green imprints in grass that is heavy and white
Luís Miguel
Alguma da melhor prosa em russo escrita no século XIX estará aqui. Com uma leitura pelas primeiras páginas percebemos desde logo que Turguéniev nada deve, em talento literário, aos seus contemporâneos. Convenhamos, no entanto, que a esquemática do livro o favorece: trata-se de uma compilação de contos ou pequenos episódios passados em caçadas. Já como tema ulterior impera a liberdade e natureza, da terra e das pessoas (a dicotomia entre servos e nobres é esplendidamente abordada). Embora seja um ...more
i don't know turgenev's more famous books, novels. they seem to be dryly witty dramas of aristocratic families. this book, by contrast, concerns the peasantry - the serfs - the slaves - but through the eyes of a young and very observant aristocrat supposedly surveying the vast estates he has recently inherited.

it's a book of linked short stories with a consistent narrator who generally stays out of the way, except in the sense that the stories he witnesses so often lay bare the depredations of h

I had loved Fathers and Sons, considered it a perfect novel. How carefully Turgenev drew the portraits of two opposing points of view without overbearing rectitude or hypersensitivity like Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. First Love was another beauty, short, delicate, poignant, with a surprise ending I did not see coming.

A Sportsman's Notebook is episodic, consisting of 25 portraits, vignettes, anecdotes, and memoirs, of people, scenes, and hunting excursions the narrator witnesses and participates in.
I feel like I'm being unfair to Turgenev by always comparing him to my favourite Tolstoy. However, Turgenev is surely the master of writing the most beautiful descriptions of the Russian countryside. These stories are tender, funny, heartrending. Maybe I'm a bit more labile than usual, but I was often teary, especially during Raspberry Water, District Doctor and the lovely Behzin Lea. Living Relic is also a real tear-jerker.
Ivan Mulcahy
I found this book thanks to the Turgenev character in Tom Stoppard's epic three-part play about pre-revolutionary Russia and it's exiled dissenters and the disconnect between reasoning reformers like Herzen and the Bolsheviks. Turgenev is all aristo bearing and get mocked for his devotion to an opera singer but Stoppard shows his kindliness that means more than rhetoric. So I read this book and found it moving
A truly excellent collection of short stories. I confess that Turgenev's most popular work left me cold, but this more than made up for it. Excellent stories and parables about the nature and beauty and tragedy of life across all layers of society. The only fault I could find was almost certainly due to the clunkiness of the translation, which I won't let detract from my admiration this time. Excellent stuff.
To fix a dreadful sleeping trouble I had for years on end, I have read this lovely collection of bucolic sketches. My suspicion regarding that insomnia lies on Dostoevsky, Trotsky, and a few other nair-do-wells I'd been reading over the past eon such as possibly Carroll, Zermelo, and Fraenkel.

Turgenev and probably a number of life factors resolving peacefully, such as my relations with certain people in particular whom I shan't name, have improved this bedtime dilemma of mine greatly. So, since
Apparently the Russian is gorgeous, and this translation can get quite lyrical and certainly some of the sketches have their moments, but between Pushkin and Lermontov on one side, and Tolstoy and Chekhov and ultimately Hemingway on the other, I felt like I'd been down this realism road before, only this time it was less real and more boring. Maybe I came at it wrong.
Roshan Thilakarathne
These are really good stories from the prominent novelist from 19th century Russia. Out of the 25 stories, some stories outshine others. "Bezhin Lea" would probably be the masterpiece for me. That story is heavily laced with peasant folklore and might have influenced by Nikolai Gogol stories such as "St. John's Eve", May Night, or The Drowned Maiden" which are found in Gogol's collection "Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka." The ending of the story adds an additional depth to it's artistic quality. ...more
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed reading this. Turgenev's style is very lyrical and he paints a beautiful landscape of the Russian countryside, but he also, through the strength of his narrator's observations, turns a critical eye upon the injustice and inhumanity of Russian serfdom. It's a book that I've thought a lot about since finishing, and I can't help but quote Harold Bloom here: "To achieve Turgenev's apparent simplicity as a writer of sketches you need the highest gifts, something ...more
J.M. Hushour
Turgenev (or Turgy) tends to get overshadowed by his frequent rivals/bitch-slappers Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, and yes, in many ways they are superior artists, but only by a few degrees. Dosty and Turgy never got along very well and I've come to the latter much later than the former so it was hard to shake that predetermined you-aren't-that-great-fool vision of T-Bag.
He's a fine writer, T-Bone is, and perhaps excessively so in this collection of 20-some odd stories, loosely linked only by the narr
1.5 stars: I must admit that I think I have a fundamental problem with collections of short stories. Some of them are enjoyable, others are not. The lack of a continuous narrative prevents me from really evaluating the work as a while, and I can only focus on the best and the worst. At any rate, this seems to be a quintessentially Russian collection. While Turgenev's descriptions of the natural beauty of Russia are wonderful, the rest of the stories are not to my taste. Most of them involve conv ...more
Mark Sacha
The hunting aspect of Turgenev's set of stories is all framework, the real substance here being a colorful mosaic of the rural inhabitants of Russia, many of them serfs. At the same time, much attention is lavished on the landscape and the seasons, the steppe and forest. It bears noting that the weird relationship between an outdoors-y love of nature and the destructive indulgence of sport-shooting (in other terms, a simultaneous spiritual connection with and blatant disregard for an ecosystem) ...more
One reason I decided to read Turgenev's Sketches is because I very much appreciated his colorful and vivid character descriptions in the novels by him that I had already read, and he makes full use of that particular talent of his in this collection of short-stories. It's not just simply a collection of short-stories though since the narrator stays the same and there’s also his constant hunting companion Yermolay, who figures in several of these stories. Turgenev's descriptions of the landowning ...more
Jorge García
Puede ocurrir que alguien como yo, un ser complaciente y apegado a sus rutinas, se recoja en su sillón favorito a dejar morir las horas leyendo un viejo libro de la biblioteca, y que en esas horas alguien llame a tu puerta cuando menos dispuesto estás a que algún conocido te comprometa, o te moleste algún vendedor ambulante.

Para un pobre de espíritu como yo, rebelarse ante las circunstancias no es posible, por lo que me levanté con desdén, la zapatilla de andar por casa burlándome, los gatos rié
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Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev (Cyrillic: Иван 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 portrayals of the ...more
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