Guardian Newspaper 1000 Novels discussion

Fathers and Sons
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Monthly Book Reads > Fathers and Sons - March 2018

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Kaycie | 455 comments Mod
Here is the March 2018 Family and Self read - Fathers and Sons.

Who is reading (or already read?)

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Christopher (Donut) | 237 comments Thanks. I voted for this because I had read about half of it last year (or so) and wanted to finish it.

It is not very long, maybe 200 pp. give or take.

I also read it years ago for a "Russian Civ" class.

Count me in.

Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (theindefatigablebertmcguinn) | 565 comments I have a book sale I'm going to this weekend. If I happen to run across a copy, I'll join in, but otherwise I'll probably sit this one out.

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Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (theindefatigablebertmcguinn) | 565 comments Actually, I found a free version on Kindle. I don't know if I'll get to this though or not--I've got a ton of stuff I've obligated myself to this month and next. We'll see.

Leslie | 825 comments I am starting today.

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I read this & hugely enjoyed it.

Leslie | 825 comments Well that was surprisingly short and easy to read!

Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (theindefatigablebertmcguinn) | 565 comments Sheesh! If it's that quick of a read, I may get to it yet

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Fay Roberts | 363 comments Hi - this was my first read as a group member and I was surprised by how “readable” it was. I’ve knocked a couple of the other “Russians” off the list and had a thought - I was impressed with how the author got across the same kind of novel in 800 or so less pages than his contemporaries (ideas, social structure, large cast of intertwined characters.....) but then I wondered if it only worked so well because I had read the other larger books. What I mean is, did I only “get” the Russian philosophy and social rules because I’d had them laid out to me in much more depth in Anna Karenina or Crime and Punishment? Has anyone got any thoughts on this?
Also I wasn’t 100% sure why the Russians found this book so shocking on its publication when I found Other Russians more shocking in their ideas and lifestyles. Was it just that the Nihilistic philosophy of a lack of principals was so abhorrent to their mind set at the time? Anyone got any ideas to put it into context for me please?

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Christopher (Donut) | 237 comments I may be mixed up on dates, but I always thought Turgenev was earlier than Tolstoy or Dostoevsky, and was the first 'breakout' Russian novelist, the first to gain acceptance and readership in Western Europe.

Of course before Turgenev there was Pushkin and A Hero of Our Time.

But I know what you mean, the more Russian novels you read, the more common motivs, like, is there a duel in EVERY Russian novel?

What was Woody Allen's movie called? Love and Death, or something like that?

Leslie | 825 comments Fay wrote: "Hi - this was my first read as a group member and I was surprised by how “readable” it was. I’ve knocked a couple of the other “Russians” off the list and had a thought - I was impressed with how t..."

I found this remarkably readable too. But I thought the same about Tolstoy so I don't think it is necessarily a function of the length of the book. This book was first published in 1862 so a few years before War and Peace (1869) but close enough that I would call Tolstoy & Turgenev contemporaries.

I think that it must have been both the anarchist views of the sons and the views of Kirsanov sr. (Nikolai Petrovitch), who freed his serfs and is groping his way towards collective cooperative farming, which was considered shocking to the class of Russians who would have been buying books. But I am just guessing...

One thing that I think made this fairly easy reading is Turgenev was pretty consistent with the names he used for the characters. That is an aspect of Russian writing that always causes me difficulty, the way a single character seems to have about 20 different names!

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Fay Roberts | 363 comments Thanks guys - I’d not done my research on this one and used a project Gutenberg version so had no notes. I was woefully unaware that he came first (in fact I will be super honest and admit I’d never heard of him.....hence my need to use the list; my lack of knowledge and appreciation of “real” books :-) ) That explains a couple of things.

Leslie - oh the Russian names!!! There is rule for it but I can’t make head nor tail if it so the fact everyone kept the same name most of the time really helped!

Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (theindefatigablebertmcguinn) | 565 comments I found this--it might help a little bit with the names:

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Phrodrick | 155 comments Leslie wrote: "Fay wrote: "Hi - this was my first read as a group member and I was surprised by how “readable” it was. I’ve knocked a couple of the other “Russians” off the list and had a thought - I was impresse..."

Given that War and Peace is my most favorite and almost most re read book, this biz about names is beginning to make my collar itch.

In the Russian culture a person might have his formal given name. Prince Nikolai Bolkonsky
Just like in America
Gen Robert E. Lee

In Russian a person might be called by his first name and patronymic (Meaning Son of )

Nikolai Nikolaivitch
Just like in America a teacher might call down to a recalcitrant student
William H. Smith!

His best friend might call him by his first name

Or in America:

Or his wife by her even more informal name:

In America:

Russian diminutives can be a tad tricky
Maria → Maryunya, Marunya, Marusya, Maryusha, Maryushka and Maryasha. (This is clearly where non-Russians get intimidated)

In America
We also use diminutives
Jo for Joe-Anne
Larry for Lawrence
But we also have pet names and nick names such that one person is affectionately called one name by a spouse, another one in the same conversation if the spouse is feeling a different feeling and by a 3rd if a non-family member has a different nick for the same person. You may be called
Chuck, or Chuckie or the Chuck-meister all in one conversation.

Pay attention to how that person speaks or is spoken to. You can pick people out by that method. I am terrible at names. On the page or in person. This method keeps me close to right enough of the time.

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