MJ Nicholls's Reviews > Oblomov

Oblomov by Ivan Goncharov
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's review
Feb 23, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: novels, borscht-and-kvass, pre-1900s, penguin-classics
Read from February 20 to 23, 2011

I adore classic Russian literature, more so than classic English or American. It was always a regret of mine that I never got to study any Russians, having opted to do an English/Scottish university degree in 2004. Still: regrets, regrets.

Oblomov is a sentimental satire, poking fun at the indolence of the landed gentry and the indecision of the ruling class leading to ruin and shame. The hero is a dreamer who struggles to get out of bed until one day he meets Olga, who he woos and courts and then loses through laziness, taking to his bed again until devious clerks start wheedling his money. It's all very miserable and melodramatic, like all great Russian lit.

The novel isn't always economical with plot: there are stretches of soupy indulgence with the Oblomov's Dream chapter, and later sections detailing Olga's thoughts and feelings feel utterly inconsequential to the story. Anywho, Oblomov himself is a tragic hero, cut from the Rashkolnikov or Underground Man cloth. Recommended for Tolstoyians and your cheerier Dostoevskyians.
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02/26 marked as: read

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