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Fathers and Sons

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3.98  ·  Rating details ·  80,710 ratings  ·  3,332 reviews
Bazarov—a gifted, impatient, and caustic young man—has journeyed from school to the home of his friend Arkady Kirsanov. But soon Bazarov’s outspoken rejection of authority and social conventions touches off quarrels, misunderstandings, and romantic entanglements that will utterly transform the Kirsanov household and reflect the changes taking place across all of nineteenth ...more
Paperback, 244 pages
Published February 1st 2005 by Signet Book (first published February 1862)
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Rita Turgenev's drama is not so far on the age as Dostoyevsky's stuff (nobody's actually is so far :) It's more like the casual drama of everyday life. So …moreTurgenev's drama is not so far on the age as Dostoyevsky's stuff (nobody's actually is so far :) It's more like the casual drama of everyday life. So if you are looking for intensity I would recommend "A Hero of Our Time" by Lermontov (heartbreaking, there are no words to describe my impressions, must-read), "Seven Who Were Hanged" by Leonid Andreyev (I've cried on a bus in public while reading), "The White Guard" by Mikhail Bulgakov (soulful Bulgakov at his best) and "The Duel" by Aleksandr Kuprin (nothing but Russian soul, hard to describe, the only way is to experience). (less)
This question contains spoilers... (view spoiler)
Catherine No, he recovered from the dueling scratch, which makes him faint. Then he decides to go abroad after Fenitchka gets married to Kirsinov.

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Jim Fonseca
[Edited for typos]
A ‘classic’ classic. Written in 1862, Wikipedia suggest this can be considered the “first modern Russian novel.” The plot revolves around two sons and two fathers who are meant to show political change in Russia reflecting generational differences. We are told in the introduction that the author deliberately set the time frame of the novel in 1859, shortly before the emancipation of the serfs in 1861.

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The fathers of course are old school, traditional Slavophiles, even though th
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Ahmad Sharabiani
(Book 874 From 1001 Books) - Отцы и дѣти = Fathers and Sons = Fathers and Children, Ivan Turgenev

Fathers and Sons is an 1862 novel by Ivan Turgenev, and ties with A Nest of Gentlefolk for the repute of being his best novel.

Arkady Kirsanov has just graduated from the University of Petersburg and returns with a friend, Bazarov, to his father's modest estate in an outlying province of Russia.

His father, Nikolay, gladly receives the two young men at his estate, called Marino, but Nikolay's brother,
...more
Henry Avila
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the quiet, sleepy, out of the way areas of rural Russia under the autocratic Czars, during the mid nineteenth century, nothing happens, still reality will show its unpleasant dark aspects as other things appear, the catalyst , two university educated arrogant young men return home, they believe that their flame of light will transform the nation for the better . However the students still have a great deal to learn about the ancient land. Arkady Kirsanov under the influence of the bright Evge ...more
Steven Godin
I had some doubts upon reading Turgenev for the first time, could he really stand up with the likes of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky?, simple answer, yes. Fathers and Sons, although not on an epic level in terms of length, does an authentic and realistic job of presenting an account of upper class 19th century Russian provincial life, and indeed it doesn't surprise me he gained greater respect in some parts in regards to the two other Russian greats. Turgenev arguably had better popularity due to his ...more
Maureen
Feb 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
In ‘Fathers and Sons’, we come across generational disagreement and conflict, amidst the social upheaval of mid nineteenth century Russia, and it’s where we are introduced to Bazarov.

Bazarov (the product of doting parents) is a bad tempered anarchist, rejecting the social conventions of the day, sparking misunderstandings and arguments aplenty, highlighting the conflict between the old and the new, but it’s a delightful read nevertheless.
İntellecta
This book is a real classic of russian literature.The language is understandable and psychological depth. The main character Basarov is the first nihilist of world literature, and rejects all conventional moral concepts. Even in love, he sees nothing but the helplessness of lonely people and distances himself from her. When he finally falls in love, his worldview collapses. Also next to the main character you will meet interesting characters and it's just fun to read this book. Fathers and Sons" ...more
knig
Nov 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Mark André
A delightful and charming, warm and friendly, life-affirming novel. The perfect summer vacation book for anyone who likes to read.
Dave Schaafsma
I re-read Fathers and Sons for a couple reasons; 1) I have been on a small Rereading Great Russian Novels kick the last couple years and 2) I was interested in what the book might have to say about the relationships between fathers and sons. As to #1, this novel was the first Great Russian Novel to achieve international fame, paving the way for—in my estimation—greater works from Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, but it’s also pretty legitimately great in its own right. As to #2, I think it’s less actuall ...more
Praveen
Apr 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fathers feel that they now belong to bygone times and sons feel that they have learned enough to indoctrinate new scientific theories and philosophies to the fathers. This happens today and this happened in this realistic classical work, based on the Russian society of the mid 19th century.

The story begins with two brothers. First one, Nikolai Petrovitch, who had lost his wife, but there remained a sense of well-spent life, as his son was growing up under his eyes and, second Pavel Petrovitch,
...more
Piyangie
Jun 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fathers and Sons is Turgenev's version of the age-old tale of the battle between the older and the younger generation. Set in 19th century Russia, the novel brings out the schism between the liberal-minded older generation, who preferred western-based social changes in Russia, and the younger generation of nihilists, who defied the old order and authority.

This is my first Turgenev novel and was very much surprised by its modernity. The use of the language and the easy and light writing style
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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
Kalliope


Lately I seem to be reading second reads. This is one of them and I am very glad I visited Turgenev’s most famous novel again. Rereading is like visiting how one’s mind changes. (view spoiler).I have read it now in an electronic format, but I remembered that my first time I used a cheap paperback with small print, but which came with a brilliant introduction by Isaiah Berli
...more
Tim Wagner
May 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thegreats
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
Roy Lotz
He has no faith in princeeples, only in frogs.

Turgenev has a reputation of being a novelists’ novelist—admired by such fastidious readers as Gustave Flaubert, Henry James, and Joseph Conrad—and now I can see why. Though quite different in temperament, he reminds me of Jane Austen or E.M. Forster in his seamless mastery of technique and his delicate touch. Apart from the epilogue (a 19th century staple), this novel makes do with very little of the cranking plot mechanics used by so many Victorian
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Paul Bryant
This book is all about visiting your parents during uni summer holiday.

These two students are all like nah we don’t believe in all this old guff, yeah, we are like all nihilist yeah right look it up old man and they both have nihilist t shirts so they go see one of them’s daddy who is all oh I don’t understand this terrible younger generation, they talk so fast and they like all that hip hop music, but this daddy, we got to say he’s kind of cool because hey, he only got himself a little 18 year
...more
Alan
Nov 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russian
Fathers and Sons stands toe to toe with the other Russian greats, in my opinion. One of the advantages it had going for it was the length – coming in at 1/5th the length of your typical Russian tome, it had to pack a punch. It did that superbly. In a way, it was easier for this novel to do so. There is the experience of finishing a book that is 1000 pages, reflecting back on your time with it, and realizing that it has changed you slowly. Bit by bit, the scenes and characters blend into one gian ...more
Jan-Maat
Ivan Turgenev's 1862 novel Fathers & Children is a striking political story of intra-generational conflict and resolution set in provincial Russia during the late spring and early summer of 1859 (ie shortly before the emancipation of the serfs). Arkady Kirsanov returns to his father's estate with his friend and idol Bazarov (and so a father figure in several ways), the two idle about there and in a couple of other places before the novel ends extremely peacefully (view spoiler) ...more
Matthew Ted
74th book of 2021. Artist for this review is Ukrainian-born Russian painter Ilya Repin (1844-1930). If you are interested, do explore his touchingly personal portraits of Tolstoy (I've included one in the review too).

When you look at the Google definition of a nihilist it gives this quote below the definition itself, "It is impossible to argue against a nihilist." Bazarov is the nihilist in the middle of this Russian tale from 1862. The opening premise of the novel is one that appeals to me: a
...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
Ivana Books Are Magic
Oct 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This novel opens up with one son returning to his father. The son in question is newly graduate Arkady Kirsanov, who returns home accompanied by his nihilist friend Bazarov. Arkady’s father Nikolai welcomes his son and his friend Bazarov with open arms. Nikolai is naturally happy to have his son back, doing his best to make these young men feel welcome. However, the new philosophical system these young man advocate causes Nikolai to feel uneasy. What kind of philosophical system is it? Well, tha ...more
Darwin8u
Sep 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
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
Sara
Fathers and Sons is, at its core, a story about the generation gap. In Arkady and Bazarov we find two young men, subscribing to the popular philosophy of the day, nihilism, and, to my mind, having little understanding of the movement they are determined to embrace.

Both of these young men come from good families, with loving fathers, and it is often painful to watch the fathers try to hold on to their own beliefs and traditions, and yet tolerate and attempt to understand the viewpoint toward lif
...more
Micah Cummins
Jan 20, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: russian-lit
12th book of 2022

"Time (as is well known) sometimes flies like a bird, sometimes crawls like a worm. But a man feels particularly happy when he doesn’t even notice whether it’s passing quickly or quietly."
Ivan Turgenev Fathers and Sons

Ivan Turgenev's Fathers and Sons tackles many large social and political issues such as love, marriage, family structures, serfdom, nihilism, and heartache.

The story revolves around the homecoming of two sons, Arkady, and Bazarov. Upon graduation from university
...more
Maru Kun
Jan 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I knew becoming a parent would be a lot of work but I wasn’t prepared for the pile of worry that came with it, nor for how quickly that pile would grow into a mountain.

It starts with the childhood illnesses: a thirty-nine degree fever? It must be meningitis. Then the real worries come, beginning with education. My nine year old has a B+ in drama and C in math. It’s all over: a life spent waiting tables before the big break which never comes. Don’t worry, we’ll be there for you son. In the teenag
...more
Lee Klein
Jan 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
HBalikov
Apr 05, 2021 rated it liked it
Most of us have known someone at school or work who lives to be a contrarian and who uses that pose to dominate discussions and relationships. Bazarov was a school mate at the University of one of the “sons” in this story. And Arkady had the bad judgment (but good dramatic choice by Turgenev) to take Bazarov with him back to his family’s estate.

What we find at the estate is that Russia is in the throes of change. Will the nobility be able to maintain their hold by “freeing the serfs?” Turgenev
...more
Cindy Rollins
Feb 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021
About halfway through I would have e rated this a three-good but not great. But by the end I was astounded at the depths of the issues Turgenev covered between parents and adult children. So many of my own experiences captured throughout the later part of the book. The struggle of being a parent to adult children is covered in tenderness and grace. The struggle of youth and genius is also explored well.
Fionnuala
I started reading this book because I was looking for clues to help me decipher 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 ...more
Lori  Keeton
I enjoyed this Russian read of Fathers and Sons. This is just a start into reading Russian authors for me and I was pleasantly surprised at how readable it was. The characters aptly represent a generational divide among the fathers and sons, Nikolai and Arkady and then Vassily and Bazarov. The fathers are devoted to their sons who are demonstrating that their new thoughts and ideas are dominant over their fathers' older, more liberal ideas. Bazarov follows his nihilist principles heartily and co ...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 portra
...more

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