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A Hero of Our Time

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  54,263 ratings  ·  2,011 reviews
In its adventurous happenings, its abductions, duels, and sexual intrigues, A Hero of Our Time looks backward to the tales of Sir Walter Scott and Lord Byron, so beloved by Russian society in the 1820s and '30s. In the character of its protagonist, Pechorin, the archetypal Russian antihero, Lermontov's novel looks forward to the subsequent glories and passion of Russian li ...more
Paperback, 185 pages
Published August 30th 1966 by Penguin Classics (first published 1839)
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LB The last one I read was by Paul Foote. I found it perfect. It's British English, very readable and follows the original very well (I am bilingual Engl…moreThe last one I read was by Paul Foote. I found it perfect. It's British English, very readable and follows the original very well (I am bilingual English-Russian and read the book in Russian too albeit years ago). (less)

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Ask a Westerner about great Russian writers, and chances are you will hear the names of Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy or Chekhov. But my mind instead immediately jumps to the earlier, more Romanticist generation of the early 19th century - Pushkin and Lermontov, two young geniuses, neither of whom has lived to see 40.

It’s easy to forget how ridiculously young Lermontov was. Pushkin, Russia’s greatest poet, was killed in a duel at only 37. Lermontov, the second-greatest, died in the same ridiculous way —
Mar 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: russian, favorites
And now Childe Harold was sore sick at heart,
And from his fellow bacchanals would flee;
'Tis said, at times the sullen tear would start,
But pride congealed the drop within his e'e...

- Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage (Canto I, Stanza VI)

Another life that vanished too soon. Mikhail Lermontov was only 26 years old when he was killed in a duel. Same fate as another Russian genius, Alexander Pushkin, to whom he dedicated his poem "Death of the Poet": And thus he died - for vengeance vainly thir
I started reading this book in ebook form because I was so eager to get to it, prompted by the references in the notes of Sasha Sokolov's Between Dog and Wolf which I'd just finished.
So imagine the following scenario: I'm reading Lermontov's book on my kindle, I'm listening to Mussorgsky's Night on Bare Mountain prompted by another Sokolov reference, and I've got a google map open on my iPad in order to follow the path Lermontov's narrator takes northwards from Tbilisi across the bare and bruta
Parthiban Sekar
“I sing whatever comes into my head. It'll be heard by who it's meant for, and who isn't meant to hear won't understand.”

Free will is the ability to choose...No! I would like to believe so. But there are countless limitations and restrictions which make me wonder why we have been granted with it, if we are going to be judged and chastised for our choices. This is such an argument of a man, Pechorin, who is often alienated for his nullifying philosophical and vilifying romantic views.

There is so
Steven Godin
May 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Hero of Our Time, part swashbuckler, part travelogue, which first appeared in 1839, cleary had an influence over another certain famous Russian writer who sported a great big long grey beard. Infact this could quite easily have been written by Tolstoy himself. Opening in a vast landscape, the narrator is travelling through the Caucasus, he explains that he is not a novelist, but a travel writer, making notes. Think a sort of Paul Theroux type. The mountainous region were supposedly fabled, Noa ...more
Chin Hwa
Jul 30, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, slavophilia
One of the most interesting, eye-opening books I've read. I'm not that familiar with Russian literature, but the more I read, the more I'm falling in love with them. This book has got to be one of the most extended, sustained meditation on the egotistical mind of a young casanova. But strangely, the novel doesn't make me despise its protagonist. There is something intriguing, almost refreshing about the calculated cruelty yet disarming honesty of the protagonist. He knows he can't commit and say ...more
Vit Babenco
May 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is something in A Hero of Our Time that even time is powerless to destroy. The novel is full of everlasting feelings and motives that ruled human beings in ancient times and keep ruling now.
“I was so delighted to be so high above the world: it was a childlike feeling, I won’t deny it, but withdrawing from the demands of society, and drawing near to nature, we become children without meaning to, and everything that has been acquired falls away from the soul – and it becomes as it once was,
Barry Pierce
I've been meaning to read this one for a while. It's one of those Russian classics that's always on those lists. A Hero of Our Time has an interesting format. It's split into sections but these sections are all very different and sometimes don't even involve our "hero" Pechorin. This is all well and good but for a novel that's under 200 pages you'd think that Lermontov would have actually focused on some sort of plot instead of piss arseing around with the structure. Not to mention that this nov ...more
Aug 24, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russian
Whoah! Lermontov! Give me a warning before going off like that. I had no preparation for what I could expect out of this novel, but boy am I glad I picked it up. The structure of the book is slightly odd – split into two parts, each part with multiple sections that go back and forth between narrators and style of story. Ultimately, the stories all gravitate toward the so-called “hero”, Grigory Alexandrovich Pechorin.

It’s hard not to become enamored by Pechorin’s charm. He carries himself with un
Jan 11, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, russian, 2021
Tale as old as time - a rich, spoiled fu*kboy, pardon, rake gets his only excitement in life by messing with women's hearts and men's lives.

It's always fun to read these classics from our modern POV. There is a clearly depressed young man here seeking a reprieve from his ennui by engaging in dangerous and often immoral liaisons, but the reprieves are always fleeting. Other Russian writers (Dostoyevsky, Pishkin and Tolstoy, for example), have taken on this archetypal hero too, with more insight.
Carolyn Marie Castagna
Thoroughly enjoyed this!
Beautiful and gritty writing about life, death, love, friendship, fate, growth…the list is endless!
Expect nothing less from a Russian read!
Emily May
Jun 13, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, 2021
I often ask myself why I am so obstinately endeavouring to win the love of a young girl whom I do not wish to deceive, and whom I will never marry.

Hell, Pechorin is a piece of work! A classic example of an emotional vampire who, in his quest for a brief feeling of excitement and fulfillment, completely destroys the lives of those around him.

As the above quote suggests, he pursues and seduces several women, earning their affections without any intention of loving or marrying them, only to dis
“Zamanımızın Bir Kahramanı" was published in 1840. It is Mikhail Lermontov's only complete prose work. The novel begins relatively simple with a portrayal of Pechorin. The beginning it´s written in a third person-perspective. After this it turns in to a diary- perspective of Pechorin, so to speak, so the reader gets to know him. Above all, there is the slightly satirical depiction of the society in Russia in the early nineteenth century. The climax is the highly readable duel of Pechorin and Gru ...more
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Mar 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
The story of a man’s soul, even the pettiest of souls, is only slightly less intriguing and edifying than the history of an entire people, especially when it is a product of the observations of a ripe mind about itself, and when it is written without the vain desire to excite sympathy or astonishment.

Driven by an early infatuation with Romanticism, tempered by subsequent disillusions, Mikhail Lermontov constructed his only novel around the troubled personality of a young Russian officer, exile
Aug 29, 2021 rated it liked it
The picturesque setting of this book, the Russian-colonized Caucasus region, immediately took me back to Pushkin's stories and Tolstoy's early work. But Lermontow's unique approach is the ingenious way in which he introduces his protagonist, the amoral Russian officer Pechorin: first through stories by third parties, then through a short personal meeting and finally through diary fragments of Pechorin himself. That gives a dynamic to the story that sucks you into the novel and doesn't let go. We ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Герой нашего времени = Heros de notretemps = A Hero of Our Time, Mikhail Lermontov
A Hero of Our Time (Russian: Герой нашего времени, Geroy nashego vremeni) is a novel by Mikhail Lermontov, written in 1839, published in 1840, and revised in 1841.
It is an example of the superfluous man novel, noted for its compelling Byronic hero (or antihero) Pechorin and for the beautiful descriptions of the Caucasus. There are several English translations, including one by Vladimir Nabokov and Dmitri Nabokov i
Axl Oswaldo
4.5 stars

"Sad it is to see when a young man loses his best hopes and dreams, when from before his eyes is withdrawn the rose-hued veil through which he has looked upon the deeds and feelings of mankind; although there is the hope that the old illusions will be replaced by new ones, none the less evanescent, but, on the other hand, none the less sweet."

What a big surprise this book was! I really enjoyed reading this novel quite a bit, since the story was not so similar to the idea that I had
E. G.
Suggestions for Further Reading

--A Hero of Our Time

Whispering Stories
Mar 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Lermontov was a Russian army officer, an artist and a writer, principally of poetry but also some prose including this work. A Hero of Our Time was eventually published as a novel although it is five short stories linked by the central character Pechorin and told by two different narrators. Two of the stories were previously published as stand-alone works.

The book starts with an introduction by Neil Cornwell which I found very useful to explain the make-up of the book and the nature of Russian p
Ivana Books Are Magic
Dec 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A true literary masterpiece, well worth the hype. Well, that would be my opinion in as little words as possible. If you want to read more, why you know what to do- continue reading this review.

1. What kind of novel is this?

Hero of Our Time is often describes as a predecessor to a psychological Russian novel. It could also be considered a turning work, a literary mix of some sort, in it that it contains elements of both romanticism and realism. It is an interestingly structured little wonder, it
Dec 26, 2012 rated it liked it
The shade of Byron, or perhaps more accurately of the Byronic hero (that petulant and brooding vampiric pretty boy that has fascinated us since the days of the famous celebrity-poet), looms large, though in a decidedly ironic fashion, in Lermontov’s _A Hero of Our Time_. The titular ‘hero’ Grigory Alexandrovich Pechorin, seen both from the outside and from within, displays from every angle the nearly perfect vision of the ‘tragic’ Byronic douche bag. From his ability to sway any woman with littl ...more
Debbie Zapata
Oct 05, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have been dipping my toes into the waters of Russian Literature this year so when I needed to choose a title for my October Literary Birthday Challenge, I thought that A Hero of Our Time would make an interesting read.

I was wrong. It was not interesting, it was extremely annoying. At first I did not know who was supposed to be the hero. There was a nameless narrator who meets a soldier on the road and listens to his stories about another soldier. So which of the three was our hero? Turned out
Dec 09, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russian-lit
A Hero of Our Time is a novel of a collection of episodes from the life and adventures of Pechorin. Some of these are narrated in the third person and others are presented as extracts from Pechorin's diary. These separate stories are connected and held in one thread by the protagonist, Pechorin. Through these, we learn about the person and the character of Pechorin, the "hero of our time". We get to know of his relationships with his fellow men, with women, with the world in general, and of his ...more
Sidharth Vardhan
Apr 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 7-russian, list-1001
"Some were dreadfully insulted, and quite seriously, to have held up as a model such an immoral character as A Hero of Our Time; others shrewdly noticed that the author had portrayed himself and his acquaintances. A Hero of Our Time, gentlemen, is in fact a portrait, but not of an individual; it is the aggregate of the vices of our whole generation in their fullest expression."

These words from author's preface were quoted by Camus in the begining of 'The Fall'. To be honest, in Camus' Stranger t
Penguin Classics edition, translation & introduction by Natasha Randall, foreword by Neil LaBute.

[4.5] Every time I've started this book, it's been tremendous fun. It's partly due to the playful self-awareness and utterly modern attitude of the second and third sentences, which shine through in every translation I've tried, and in this version mention:
one valise of average size, half-filled with my travel notes about Georgia. The majority of these luckily for you, were lost; but the valise with
K.D. Absolutely
This is an important Russian classic novel by Mikhail Lermontov (1814-1841) said to be among the influences of Fyodor Doesteovsky (1821-1881) and Count Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910). Prior to this book, I thought that Doeteovsky and Tolstoy were the oldest Russian writers. You see, whenever I look at their pictures especially those taken during their twilight years, i.e., with those white beard and wrinkly faces, my brain could not think that they also had their influences in terms of writing style. I ...more

"A hero of our time" is Russian classics, written by Mikhail Lermontov. He was a Russian Romantic writer, poet and painter. His prose founded the tradition of the Russian psychological novel.
The reason I chose this book is that the main character has a lot of similarities with the author. They both were talented, noble, served in military, had sharp wit, enjoyed harsh humor, the story in the book has some similarities to the life of the author. It's a strange type of diary. Nature, customs, pe
Nov 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: russia
And how often is a deception of the senses or an error of the reason accepted as a conviction! . . . I prefer to doubt everything.

Of two friends, one is always the slave of the other, although frequently neither acknowledges the fact to himself. Now, the slave I could not be; and to be the master would be a wearisome trouble, because, at the same time, deception would be required.

After all this, is life worth the trouble? And yet we live -- out of curiosity! We expect something new. . . How ab
Dec 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
“I was ready to love the whole world—none understood me: and I learned to hate. My colourless youth was spent in a struggle with myself and with the world. Fearing mockery, I buried my best feelings at the bottom of my heart: there they died. I spoke the truth—I was not believed: I began to deceive.”

What do we have here? A malcontent. A series of broken hearts. A duel. A game of Russian Roulette (apparently the first place a reference to this “game” appears). A question of fate versus freedom. A
MJ Nicholls
An early Russian novel, arbitrarily patched together, but still regarded as a canonical work in the Steppes and the Westies. Pechorin is the titular hero, the time being 1840, and the hero being ironical. The most engaging part of the novel is the long epistolary Mary section, an early stab at a society tale mixed with a bracing duel scene. The other parts seem sloppy attempts to reproduce the Walter Scott tradition in a Russian idiom, especially with the spurious preface larks and the chopping ...more
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Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov (Михаил Юрьевич Лермонтов), a Russian Romantic writer, poet and painter, sometimes called "the poet of the Caucasus", was the most important Russian poet after Alexander Pushkin's death. His influence on later Russian literature is still felt in modern times, not only through his poetry, but also by his prose.

Lermontov died in a duel like his great predecessor poet, Ale

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