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Spring Torrents
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1001 book reviews > Spring Torrents by Ivan Turgenev

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Diane | 1889 comments Rating: 5 Stars
Read: January 2017

I love Russian literature and I love Turgenev, so perhaps I am biased in my review. The story begins with a 52-year-old man reflecting upon his life and his regrets. He recollects his youth and his first love, an Italian girl living in Germany who he falls in love with after saving the life of her brother. He tells how this perfect love was lost due to the follies of youth.

Turgenev is such a great storyteller. His books are very readable in English. I do wish I could read in Russian to experience the full effect. It is interesting to note that this book is considered semi-autobiographical and also written by him around the age of the main character at the beginning of the book.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments 4 Stars

I listened to this short novella, and while I found the prose beautiful and lyrical (even in translation), I also felt at times as though I was listening to a lecture in a college classroom. I am not sure if that is due to the writing style or the narration, but I think it is both. So much of this book is told in first person, with the narrator reflecting upon his story. I would have liked more dialogue. I think it may have rooted the story more for me.

Like many Russian books it is set in St. Petersburg and makes me long to visit.


Gail (gailifer) | 1163 comments I find Turgenev to be a wonderful writer. The story is bookended with an older narrator in despair who recalls the circumstances of his young life and how simple decisions, and a few events combined to change everything for his life and the lives of people around him. The book has an interesting plot structure in that the first half is largely a realistically drawn but nevertheless delightful little love story. The story then turns crispy away from love to lust with the introduction of a manipulative women out to win a bet with her own husband. Our narrator in his youth falls for the woman's manipulations because of his inexperience and youthful desires.
Turgenev's political and philosophical leanings are subtle in this book compared to Father and Sons but I did love the fact that the women in the book were capable of making up their own minds about their lives and loves rather than having men do it for them. Also, the innocent love interest ultimately fared better in the end than our narrator.


message 4: by Pip (new) - rated it 4 stars

Pip | 1283 comments This delightful novella confirms that Turgenev is my favourite Russian writer. The story of Dimitry Sanin, a young nobleman, ensnared by women in Frankfurt (spelled Frankfort in my version) evoked memories and emotions familiar to me. The beginning of the story is a frame, an older man finds a garnet necklace in his possessions which stirs his memory of an exciting, fraught time in his youth when he made decisions which altered the course of his life. The torrents of spring are the sexual awakening and yearning of a good-looking young man. There is a wonderful description of an elderly man (in his early fifties, as Turgenev was when he wrote this book) contemplating death. The metaphor of an unspeakable monster rising from the depths of the sea to capsize his little boat is particularly evocative in my present circumstances. And then there is Frankfurt: a city in which I have lived: the Zeil, the gardens and excursions to Bad Soden and Hanau, and the climax in Wiesbaden. It was such a pleasure to imagine how life there would have been at the time the novel was set. Turgenev handles the way his young hero first falls in love with a beautiful, passionate young woman and then his deliberate seduction by another, much more worldly young woman which compromises his first love with deftness and truth. How many young men have succumbed to the sexual advances of wildly unsuitabe women because their hormones fry their brains? He completely misses the obvious cues that his acquaitance from school gathers lovers for his wife and that he, Sanin, is the latest fly caught in the web. Turgenev captures the high drama of young love and the regrets of old age in ways that resonate with this reader.


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