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Sketches from a Hunter's Album

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  6,778 ratings  ·  188 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 acquaints with, peasants and landowners, doctors and bailiffs, neglected wives and bereft mothers each providing a glimps ...more
Paperback, 403 pages
Published August 30th 1990 by Penguin Classics (first published 1835)
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Leif Yes. Everyman's Library has an excellent edition available for purchase through Amazon. It is known as "A Sportsman's Notebook"

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3.93  · 
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Mar 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: random
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
Ahmad Sharabiani
Записки охотника = Zapiski Ohotnika = Sketches From a Hunter's Album = A Sportsman's Sketches, Ivan Turgenev
A Sportsman's Sketches is an 1852 collection of short stories by Ivan Turgenev. It was the first major writing that gained him recognition.
The list of stories: Khor and Kalinych; Yermolay and the Miller’s Wife; Raspberry Water; District Doctor; My Neighbor Radilov; Farmer Ovsyanikov; Lgov; Bezhin Lea; Kasyan from the Beautiful Lands; Bailiff; The Office; Loner; Two Landowners; Lebedyan;
Richard Derus
May 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Publisher Says: 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 acquaints with, peasants and landowners, doctors and bailiffs, neglected wives and bereft mothers each providing a glimpse of love, tragedy, courage and loss, and anticipating Turgenev's great later works such as First Love an ...more
Mohit Parikh
Mar 07, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  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
Vince Donovan
Apr 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Borzois
Shelves: own, russia, fiction

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
It’s strange how things happen in life: you live with someone for a long time, you are on the best of terms, yet you never once speak to them frankly and from the heart; with someone else, you’ve hardly even got acquainted - and there you are: as if at confession, one or other of you is blurting out all his most intimate secrets. (41)
A Sportman’s Notebook comprises 25 stories that center on the sportman’s (that is, the hunter’s) life. The stories freely and poignantly portray the hardships of li
Apr 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Mohit Sharma
Oct 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: russian, 2012, loved-ones
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
Aug 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful sketches. He has a wonderful sense of place - lovely and effective location descriptions, tinged with emotion, that impart a sense of immediacy and richness to the delicate personal encounters at the heart of each story. Simple subject matter is given such sensitive treatment that one can find all sorts of things under the surface. A memorable, atmospheric evocation of a particular time, place, and society.
Jun 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
Ksenia Anske
Aug 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So much warmth in here, humor, good old-fashioned fun of a Russian hunter traversing fields and steppes and forests, shooting game and meeting a whole array of amusing characters, including dogs, horses, and pigs. The tragedy of Russian peasantry goes here hand-in-hand with loving observations, small beautiful moments, particularly those about nature. I could smell them.
Charles Samuels
Nov 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
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
Raima Larter
Oct 18, 2015 rated it it was ok
Reading this for a class. Turgenev is a very good writer, but these short pieces are not really stories - more like character sketches that you'd find in a writer's notebook. The author excels at setting a scene. His descriptions are gorgeous, and he also does a good job of describing the physical characteristics of the characters as he introduces him. The dialogue is, occasionally, very good, but more often than not, it's banal and sometimes even borders on caricature. I don't know how much of ...more
Feb 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
My first introduction to Russian literature. The translation was pretty amazing. This book is a collection of shorts, a portrait of serfdom in 1800s Russia. It was beautiful, heartbreaking, thought-provoking, and even funny at times. Some of the stories in particular were amazing. I personally found The Office, Death, and Living Relic to stand out from the ret, still I'd recommend reading the book in its entirety for the full effect.
Nov 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
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.
Jake Goretzki
Apr 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
Five stars, but for one glaring omission which no realist portrait of rural Russia in any century can surely be forgiven: mosquitoes.
May 11, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Jul 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
A Sportsman’s Sketches by Ivan Turgenev is a collection of short stories or observations (sketches) from the viewpoint of a Russian nobleman traveling his lands to both survey them and hunt for sport. [Note that this book is sometimes titled Sketches from a Hunter’s Album.:]

When you can’t enjoy a novel in the original language, then the book is only as good as the translation you have at hand. This particular edition was translated by Constance Garnett who did an excellent job of making Turgenev
Amir Atef
Mar 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ivan Turgenev... (Y) There are no all-encompassing moral/geographical canvases of Tolstoy, or violent psychological inquests of Dostoevsky, only the hunter's eyes, his gun and his dog, the people he meet.. 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 impression that Turgenev loved Russia, warts and all, and wanted anyone who cared to listen to feel the same. The lyricism of th ...more
Julie Bozza
Jan 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, russia
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!'
Feb 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Continuing to round out my Russian Lit repertoire, I read this. Also, this was one of Hemingway's favorites, and I can see the resemblance.

But I must say, I find Turgenev mostly boring with some moments of greatness. Only the last 100 pages were really worth anything, but at least I can say I've read it.

The very last Chapter, The Forest and the Steppe, which is an ode to Hunting and Russia, was by far the best.

One more thing, the Garnett translation is your best bet.
Jan 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really good. As in incredible. It's Turgenev. It's unbelievably good. I feel completely stupid reviewing it. It's like reviewing a Beethoven symphony. It's magnificent, incredibly evocative. Just spectacular.
Also, a great deal of it takes place outside. I love being outside so that's a selling point, a huge one, as far as I'm concerned.
Robert Hobkirk
Aug 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was awed by Turgenev's talent. This book made a difference in the world because it influenced Nicholas II to abolish serfdom. Turgenev paid the price for upsetting the status quo by being put under house arrest. No one does descriptions of nature better than Turgenev; after all, he started out as a poet. I've got to read more of his work.
Nov 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russian-classics
A solid Russian classic. Great descriptions of the natural world, of which the book is famous, but also authentic and interesting characters. Nothing revolutionary in the end, but you feel as if you do get to know the various people you meet during the course of the book.
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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 th
“the deep, pure blue stirs on one’s lips a smile, innocent as itself; like the clouds over the sky, and, as it were, with them, happy memories pass in slow procession over the soul” 8 likes
“Queer things happen in the world: you may live a long while with some people, and be on friendly terms with them, and never once speak openly with them from your soul; with others you have scarcely time to get acquainted, and all at once you are pouring out to him—or he to you—all your secrets, as though you were at confession” 0 likes
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