All About Books discussion

Oblomov
This topic is about Oblomov
50 views
Readalongs > Oblomov Readalong (Charbel, Anastasia,Dely)

Comments Showing 1-46 of 46 (46 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

Charbel (charliecosmos) | 2652 comments With me and Anastasia, and anyone else interested in joining. We start in August, and feel free to join the discussion.


dely | 5214 comments I may join. I have never read it though everybody recommends it to me since a very long time!

Anastasia, which translation will you read?
I have found this one for my kindle: http://www.amazon.it/Oblomov-i-grandi...
Do you know if BUR makes good translations?


Anastasia (universe_beats) | 401 comments dely wrote: "I may join. I have never read it though everybody recommends it to me since a very long time!

Anastasia, which translation will you read?
I have found this one for my kindle: http://www.amazon.it/..."


I'll read this edition: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9...
I've not read many editions by BUR, but my few experiences were good :) Usually it is pretty reliable.

I'll start the book after the first half of the month. I hope it's not a problem, Charbel! :)


dely | 5214 comments Anastasia wrote: "dely wrote: "I may join. I have never read it though everybody recommends it to me since a very long time!

Anastasia, which translation will you read?
I have found this one for my kindle: http://w..."


Ok, thanks. It isn't the same translator but I'll give a try to the the kindle edition ;)


Charbel (charliecosmos) | 2652 comments It's no problem at all Anastasia!

Glad to have you on board Dely!


dely | 5214 comments Charbel wrote: "It's no problem at all Anastasia!

Glad to have you on board Dely!"


Thanks. I'm sure I'll have an interesting discussion with you both.


Charbel (charliecosmos) | 2652 comments Started it yesterday. Quite good so far, but to be honest Oblomov, the main character, is getting on my nerves!


dely | 5214 comments Already started? Then I will start too, I've finished yesterday my recommendation swap.


dely | 5214 comments Finished chapter II

Charbel wrote: "Started it yesterday. Quite good so far, but to be honest Oblomov, the main character, is getting on my nerves!"

Why?

I already love him! I have read only the first two chapters and I have that good feeling you feel when you pick a book you love since the first sentences. I love this feeling!


Charbel (charliecosmos) | 2652 comments I'm enjoying the book, but not Oblomov himself. Though it did get significantly better after part 1.There's so much to discuss but I shall wait as to avoid spoilers.


Charbel (charliecosmos) | 2652 comments dely wrote: "Finished chapter II

Charbel wrote: "Started it yesterday. Quite good so far, but to be honest Oblomov, the main character, is getting on my nerves!"

Why?



I already love him! I have read only the..."


His apathy at the beginning did not really agree with me. Maybe it reminded me too much of myself!


message 12: by dely (new) - rated it 4 stars

dely | 5214 comments Charbel wrote: "I'm enjoying the book, but not Oblomov himself. Though it did get significantly better after part 1.There's so much to discuss but I shall wait as to avoid spoilers."

Use the spoiler tags! Usually, before writing my message, I add the chapter I have finished so the other members know if they can continue reading, because they have already read these chapters, or if they must be careful. However, I always use spoiler tags.

Charbel wrote: "His apathy at the beginning did not really agree with me. Maybe it reminded me too much of myself! "

It's the reason why I like him. I like characters with whom I can relate. I love these authors who are able to put in words a behavior I have. Well, I'm not exactly like Oblomov...life often reaches me so I must be active but I have a lot in common with him! A friend of mine is like him and when he comes to me we surreder to total Oblomovism.


Charbel (charliecosmos) | 2652 comments We all have moments of Oblomovism. In the novel it even seems to infect the servant Zakhar.


message 14: by dely (last edited Aug 06, 2014 11:06AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

dely | 5214 comments Charbel wrote: "We all have moments of Oblomovism. In the novel it even seems to infect the servant Zakhar."

I like also this character and I find funny the scenes when he appears (at least till now). Today I hadn't a lot of time to read so I can't add much more.


message 15: by dely (new) - rated it 4 stars

dely | 5214 comments finished chapter IX, half through ch. X

I'm going on very slowly. The book has a slow pace till now and a lot of details make it a slow read.

In chapter 8 (or 9, I don't remember very well) Oblomov makes a kind of list why it is impossible for him to move. Do you think he really believes in these excuses or does he try to convince himself?

In chapter 10, that I haven't finished, we can see why he is how he is and there is a good description of the people of the village where he grew up. I don't think that it will be easy for people like him to change and perhaps they don't want to change because their life has always been in this way so for them it's nearly impossible to have another lifestyle.


Charbel (charliecosmos) | 2652 comments dely wrote: "finished chapter IX, half through ch. X

I'm going on very slowly. The book has a slow pace till now and a lot of details make it a slow read.

In chapter 8 (or 9, I don't remember very well) Oblom..."


I finished it this morning.

I think he was trying to convince himself. The truth is he knows why he is the way he is, and is aware that it all began in Oblomovka. I think he just doesn't want to face that fact. At least that's my interpretation.


message 17: by dely (new) - rated it 4 stars

dely | 5214 comments Charbel wrote: "dely wrote: "finished chapter IX, half through ch. X

I'm going on very slowly. The book has a slow pace till now and a lot of details make it a slow read.

In chapter 8 (or 9, I don't remember ver..."


Already finished the whole book? You have been fast!


Charbel (charliecosmos) | 2652 comments dely wrote: "Charbel wrote: "dely wrote: "finished chapter IX, half through ch. X

I'm going on very slowly. The book has a slow pace till now and a lot of details make it a slow read.

In chapter 8 (or 9, I do..."


It's a good book!


message 19: by dely (new) - rated it 4 stars

dely | 5214 comments Yes, I see you gave it 4 stars!


Anastasia (universe_beats) | 401 comments I started it two days ago and now I have to start Chapter IX.
I agree with dely: Zakhar is an interesting character and the duo Oblomov-Zakhar is almost funny! The scene where Oblomov scolds Zakhar because he said that Oblomov is like the others was entertaining, particulary because of Zakhar's inner pain and behavior.
But right after the speech to Zakhar, when Oblomov became aware of himself, that moment was so true: I've experienced a very similar feeling in my most "oblomovian" moments. It was such an acute psychological description. Goncharov must have been a bit oblomovian too to write with that precision!
(But I've seen that this is the only popular book of his production, maybe the possibility of identifying himself with Oblomov was the winning element.)

And my first thought even before starting it was how the writer would manage this kind of novel without becoming boring, till now it's not happened :) Even if dely again is right, it's a bit "heavy" to read, given the main character. Oblomov clearly drags his feet and the pace has to mirror it.


Charbel (charliecosmos) | 2652 comments Anastasia wrote: "I started it two days ago and now I have to start Chapter IX.
I agree with dely: Zakhar is an interesting character and the duo Oblomov-Zakhar is almost funny! The scene where Oblomov scolds Zakha..."


Great interpretation Anastasia.


message 22: by dely (new) - rated it 4 stars

dely | 5214 comments Finished chapter 4 of the second part

The pace is changing in the second part, there is more movement thanks to the arrival of Stolz.

Chapter 4 is a little masterpiece! I can totally relate to Oblomov and I agree with everything he says. I understand why he doesn't want to go out and stay among people because I don't like it either for the same reasons (well, for me it's not a problem, for my psychiatrist it is and the discussion among Oblomov and Stolz was similar to a session with my psychiatrist!). The things he says can refer also to today's society. But I also know that a life like his is impossible so I understand also Stolz and his point of view. The only cure for idleness is action.

I'm curious to see what will happen next.


message 23: by dely (new) - rated it 4 stars

dely | 5214 comments I was forgetting this: I liked the description of Oblomov's perfect life in the country!


message 24: by dely (new) - rated it 4 stars

dely | 5214 comments Finished chapter 8 of the second part.

At the end of chapter 8 (view spoiler)

In these chapters I love how Goncharov describes (view spoiler)


Charbel (charliecosmos) | 2652 comments dely wrote: "Finished chapter 8 of the second part.

At the end of chapter 8 [spoilers removed]

In these chapters I love how Goncharov describes [spoilers removed]"


The second part is where the story really picks up. Regarding to the life question, I wondered about it as well. It could be interpreted in different ways,. Either Olga meant that Oblomov should focus on the future to make up for the past, or she was asking him not to get carried away, and just live in the moment.
It could also be seen as a hint on what happens next in the novel, but I wont say more about that.
Another possible interpretation could be that Olga was advising Oblomov not to let the past affect the present.


message 26: by dely (new) - rated it 4 stars

dely | 5214 comments Charbel wrote: "Another possible interpretation could be that Olga was advising Oblomov not to let the past affect the present. "

Yes, I was thinking about this too: (view spoiler). Curious to see what will happen next!


Charbel (charliecosmos) | 2652 comments Can't wait to know what you both think about the rest of the novel!


message 28: by dely (new) - rated it 4 stars

dely | 5214 comments Charbel wrote: "Can't wait to know what you both think about the rest of the novel!"

I'm pretty sure to know how it will end but don't tell me if I'm right!

(view spoiler)


Charbel (charliecosmos) | 2652 comments dely wrote: "Charbel wrote: "Can't wait to know what you both think about the rest of the novel!"

I'm pretty sure to know how it will end but don't tell me if I'm right!

[spoilers removed]"


I won't tell. You'll find out soon enough.


message 30: by dely (last edited Aug 13, 2014 11:03AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

dely | 5214 comments I have finished the second part.

Olga is a very intelligent woman, I like her. I have liked Goncharov's insight in her growth.

Just for one moment I was thinking that (view spoiler)

In chapter 9 Olga says (view spoiler)

In chapter 10 Oblomov says something very interesting (the whole book is full of interesting quotes, I can't add them because they are in Italian):(view spoiler)


message 31: by Anastasia (last edited Aug 13, 2014 04:21PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anastasia (universe_beats) | 401 comments Yesterday I finished Chapter 8 of the second part.

I agree with you: the second part is very engrossing. Olga at the beginning seems an ordinary good woman, even if her clever sideswipes are suggesting that there is more behind her personality than a simple heart and mind. And then it's confirmed by her evolution.
Like dely said, a very intelligent woman, not to underestimate.
But now that the things are changed, they could turn into a "mismatched" couple. No, the term is not right, there are a lot of couple where a leading woman controls a weak man. Somehow the balance is necessary, because of the need of the woman to know of her power towards somebody else and the need of the man to give himself to someone who can decide for him.
I find it sad anyway.
But let's see how the things will develop, I'm curious!
Regarding the life question, I think that Olga was trying to say that Oblomov should learn from his mistakes in order to not waste the past. So the implicit advise was to not commit them anymore and change his behavior. And that's what Olga was trying to with him, supported by Stoltz. Maybe it was subtler than my interpretation, I don't know!

Oblomov's deception towards people is understandable. But Stolz is right: there's not a drastic way to escape the subject of his complaint. Maybe yes, it's only a matter of good choices in our friendships. Everyday life forces us to not avoide average men and conversations. Reducing them to the the bare minimum could be the right choice, and sometimes it seems too much anyway. Ahh! Olga has been a right choice in this case.
But I'm wondering if his deception towards Olga's abrupt change could be avoided. Basically he needs a "pure" woman, but life corrupts every person, it's a matter of experience. In my personal opinion a complex and multifaceted personality is more interesting than a personality which matches his needs. The everyday reality could show that frequently a woman like that has many dull moments to offer.
Surely it's evident that the total absence of any love affair in his life allows him to have an idealized concept of women.


message 32: by dely (new) - rated it 4 stars

dely | 5214 comments But now that the things are changed, they could turn into a "mismatched" couple. No, the term is not right, there are a lot of couple where a leading woman controls a weak man. Somehow the balance is necessary, because of the need of the woman to know of her power towards somebody else and the need of the man to give himself to someone who can decide for him.

It is strange to see such a "modern" woman in Russian literature of the XIX century.
Sometimes a woman has the "syndrome of the Red Cross nurse" and I don't know how good this is in a couple. It seems to me that such a woman falls in love only if she feels useful to a man. At the beginning she is moved by Oblomov's need of care but however she wants to change him in order to have a "real" man (I don't remember in which part of the book Olga dreams about this).

Basically he needs a "pure" woman, but life corrupts every person, it's a matter of experience.

I don't think so. There are people who will be simple hearted and honest forever, like Oblomov (or like prince Myshkin in The Idiot by Dostoyevsky but there are such people also in real life). Perhaps it's because of this that he doesn't feel at ease among other people and also the reason why he falls in love with Olga. I don't think he has idealized Olga and though he hasn't a lot of experience I feel he knows what he's looking for in a woman. I think also that Olga gives him a sense of tranquility and peaceful habit: a person like Oblomov needs such a woman in order to continue a calm life. A multifaceted personality would cause too much anxiety in a person like Oblomov.


message 33: by dely (new) - rated it 4 stars

dely | 5214 comments I'm almost done (I'm too tired to finish it this evening). I just can say that this book surprises me because it never happens what I think.

Only one thing of the third part: (view spoiler)


message 34: by dely (new) - rated it 4 stars

dely | 5214 comments I have finished the book. I was hesitant between a 4 or 5 stars rating. I really liked it but I feel something is missing to consider it a masterpiece but I don't know what. I will think about it or change my rating to 5 stars.


Charbel (charliecosmos) | 2652 comments I had the same reaction Dely when I finished it. Eventually I settled for four stars. I agree what you said in comment 30 about love being more than a duty.


Anastasia (universe_beats) | 401 comments dely wrote: "But now that the things are changed, they could turn into a "mismatched" couple. No, the term is not right, there are a lot of couple where a leading woman controls a weak man. Somehow the balance ..."

You're right, dely. I've finished the first chapter of the fourth part. I've changed my mind on what I said about Oblomov. He wasn't idealizing Olga, maybe on the contrary, Olga was embellishing her idea of the Oblomov of the future. Like we saw in the end of the third part. I could hear Ogla speaking during the last dialogue with Oblomov and I was feeling very sorry for her and for him too. It was painful, but very mature, particulary for a literary work.
Don't misunderstand me: we read a lot of love stories where there is pain, but not too often for this doubts, but more for adversities, external enemies and so on. At least in my reading experience I don't see many times such a realistic reproduction of this kind of love stories. In my opinion this element of the book is worth 5 stars.

But like both of you, there's something that stops me from giving it 5 stars. Maybe some chapters set in Oblomov's house are not as engrossing as others. The first thing that comes to my mind to justify that "mysterious something" which is missing.


message 37: by dely (last edited Aug 16, 2014 09:46AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

dely | 5214 comments Anastasia wrote: "At least in my reading experience I don't see many times such a realistic reproduction of this kind of love stories."

Yes, I agree. Goncharov has been really able to look deep inside love and talk about the different points of view seen that everybody has a personal idea of it and looks for different things. Me too, I think it was very mature also for that time and it was the first time I have met such an independent woman in Russian literature.

But like both of you, there's something that stops me from giving it 5 stars. Maybe some chapters set in Oblomov's house are not as engrossing as others. The first thing that comes to my mind to justify that "mysterious something" which is missing.

I have thought about it and the last part of the book was a little bit dragging (though it seems a blasphemy to say something like this!). In my opinion, in the fourth part, the chapters dedicated to (view spoiler)

But perhaps it isn't this, I still don't know exactly. From one part the story is perfect, some chapters deserve 5 stars, the opinions of Goncharov are interesting, deep, mature and very well expressed, there are some funny parts with Zachar...everything seems perfect.


Charbel (charliecosmos) | 2652 comments The last part was slow even when it was clear that the story was concluded. In any other book, I might have said that the author was just trying to increase the page number, but in this case I think that Goncharov wasn't fully confident in the manner he wanted to deliver the conclusion.


message 39: by dely (new) - rated it 4 stars

dely | 5214 comments Charbel wrote: "The last part was slow even when it was clear that the story was concluded. In any other book, I might have said that the author was just trying to increase the page number, but in this case I thin..."

Perhaps he didn't want to conclude too fast and in an aprupt way so he has preferred to add parts of life without elaborating too much so he jumps also 3-4 years in Oblomov's life. He adds some parts that could have been deepened (like the many deceits by Tarantiev or the wedding with Agafia) but they would be too long and perhaps Goncharov didn't want to bore the reader. I think he has found a middle way between describing the whole life of Oblomov in details and an aprupt conclusion.
But, yes, I found the third part a little bit dragging and I would have preferred if he had continued with the same pace also if the story would have been much longer.


message 40: by Anastasia (last edited Aug 16, 2014 03:12PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anastasia (universe_beats) | 401 comments I don't have rated it yet, but I think I'll give it 5 stars anyway. :)
I liked the part about Stolz and Olga, maybe because I love them as a couple. Maybe Goncarov was trying to compare an happily married life to Oblomov's uneventful days and he needed to develop their story in dedicated chapters, without being too fast. Olga and Stolz particularly are the opposite of "oblomovism": they are very active and full of life. In this way Oblomov's future sounds even more "blamable", because we see the simultaneous future of his friends. But in the last case being detailed about the last years of Oblomov could have weighed down the story, as dely said. It's always the same "oblomovian life", there was no need of detailed descripition about what we already know.
But I would have appreciated if Goncarov had dedicated more paragraphs about Andrej, the son and Oblomov as a father. He has popped up from nothing. Knowing it with Stolz was strange, given that there has always been a privileged point of view about his life. Surely seeing the progress of his life from a window and not directly with an inner point of view could help to put some distance between the world (and also the readers?) and Oblomov's retired life.
I definitely agree about the middle way in the progression of the story.


message 41: by dely (new) - rated it 4 stars

dely | 5214 comments Anastasia wrote: "In this way Oblomov's future sounds even more "blamable", because we see the simultaneous future of his friends. "

You are right! Perhaps it's because of this I didn't like a lot the chapters about the happy life of Olga and Stolz though he has added the problems of Olga's depression (but they are both "perfect" and so they would be able to come out of dark times in their lives). It seemed to me that Goncharov wanted to underline how wrong Oblomov was but I like him so much, I didn't want his life would be compared with a "perfect" life.
At the end, when Stolz wants to bring him away for the last time, Oblomov tells him that it is useless because he would never be like him. I know Stolz wanted to help but shouldn't be there respect for a person who choses a different life? Why some people want the others to live like them as if only their way of living is right? Oblomov would never have been able to live like Stolz.
Yes, perhaps I didn't like a lot this comparison with these perfect people in order to show how wrong Oblomov was.


Charbel (charliecosmos) | 2652 comments I wouldn't say that there was something "wrong" with Oblomov, but I think that he did have an illness, and not Oblomovka disease. Though at first it seemed that Oblolmov was just another lazy noble, as the story progressed, I began to suspect that he may have suffered from a sort of depression. What did seem to cure him for a bit was the beginning of his relationship with Olga; the mystery and excitement that it brought. But one monotony took over his condition took over again, just proving that the mundane- or what is gradually becoming mundane- is toxic to Oblomov. I don't think that a trip to the country could have cured him, but perhaps a trip to a specialized doctor.


Charbel (charliecosmos) | 2652 comments I was wondering, regarding the whole Tarantiev dishonesty, were you disturbed by Tarantiev's corrupt nature and willingness to steal form a "friend", or outraged about Oblomov's indifference to the subject?


Charbel (charliecosmos) | 2652 comments I was wondering, regarding the whole Tarantiev dishonesty, were you disturbed by Tarantiev's corrupt nature and willingness to steal form a "friend", or outraged about Oblomov's indifference to the subject?


message 45: by dely (new) - rated it 4 stars

dely | 5214 comments Charbel wrote: "I was wondering, regarding the whole Tarantiev dishonesty, were you disturbed by Tarantiev's corrupt nature and willingness to steal form a "friend", or outraged about Oblomov's indifference to the..."

I couldn't stand Tarantiev because I don't like such dishonest people; I find them absolutely disagreeable. Perhaps Goncharov has added such a character exaggerating him by purpose to show what happens if people are like Oblomov.
I would have liked that Oblomov would have been more smart but it happens also in real life that such good-hearted people are the firsts to be deceived. Somehow I can't blame Oblomov because I don't think that his goodness had something to do with his idleness. In my opinion he has been deceived because of his goodness and not because of his idleness. Of course, if he would have been less idle he would have noticed sooner that Tarantiev was deceiving him.


message 46: by Anastasia (last edited Aug 25, 2014 09:49AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anastasia (universe_beats) | 401 comments Charbel wrote: "I wouldn't say that there was something "wrong" with Oblomov, but I think that he did have an illness, and not Oblomovka disease. Though at first it seemed that Oblolmov was just another lazy noble..."

I've thought about reading Oblomov's disease as depression, but at the end he was truly satisfied with his lazy life, so I don't think that we could call it "depression" in its usual meaning..

I agree with dely: he has been deceived more for his goodness than his idleness, and I couldn't be outraged for this. I was more irked for Tarantiev's annoying nature. He belongs to that kind of person who ruin everything he touches.


back to top