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A Hero of Our Time
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1001 book reviews > A Hero of Our Time - Lermontov

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message 1: by Diane (last edited Aug 05, 2018 05:59AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Diane  | 2051 comments Rating: 4 stars


This is an example of how our personal ratings for books can change over time. I read this for the first time several years ago and was thoroughly impressed enough to give it 5 stars. It didn't have the same effect the second time around, but it is solidly a 4 star read for me.

Considered my many to be Russia's first major novel, it influenced the works of later, more famous Russian authors. The book chronicles episodes in the life of a young soldier in the Caucasus. Interesting that a major event in the book involved a duel. The author died in a duel shortly after the book was written, at the young age of 26. Had he lived longer, I think he would have produced some amazing work.


George P. | 541 comments Finished in October 2020.

It has a strange structure, with one story leading into another rather awkwardly. However it has good characters, action, and mood. Probably one of the best novels of its era, so I am rating four stars. I've enjoyed many Russian novels so it was interesting to see an early one, and some similarity of style.


Gail (gailifer) | 1543 comments This first significant prose novel from Russia captures the beauty of the Caucasus Mountains and the alienation, ennui and self absorption of the anti-hero main character; Grigory Alexandrovich Pechorin. The structure of the novel is quite modern as we first meet Pechorin through the tales an associate tells, then meet him 'in person', so to speak, with our narrator actually encountering him and then lastly through Pechorin's diaries. Pechorin's manipulative tendencies, particularly his manipulation of women's emotions and his thirst for power over other people's feelings should make him decidedly unlikeable but our author has Pechorin ironically playing the incarnation of all that is wrong with Russian society, particularly Russian intellectual society, so I actually found him a fascinating character.
Plus we have duels, smugglers, women of both high and low class and lots of adventure mixed in. I thought it was a great short novel.


Amanda Dawn | 1251 comments I also gave it 4 stars. I often can be frustrated at what I call "historical f*ckboi" books, but I appreciated this one. I did like the satirical edge to it, and how the figure of the Byronic hero has been translated to reflect Russian culture and sensibilities.

I found the story of Circassian princess from the beginning quite interesting, and well suited at displaying Pechorin's superfluous and exploiting nature.

It was also neat that unlike a lot of Russian books of this nature, it does not happen in Moscow or St. Petersburg, but mostly in the Caucasus- including in parts of modern day Georgia.


Celia (cinbread19) | 147 comments 4 stars

5 novellas/ short stories that flowed nicely.

I especially enjoyed learning of and seein an example of the Byronic hero.


Leni Iversen (leniverse) | 483 comments 4 stars.
This was so much more entertaining than I expected. I played a round of Russian Literature Trope Bingo with it, and ended up checking almost every square. It's really remarkable how much Lermontov managed to pack into barely 200 pages, and without making it seem crowded or rushed. It is extra impressive that it is such an early work in Russian literature, I guess it could be argued that he invented a lot of those tropes. At the very least his appears to be the first literary depiction of a game of Russian Roulette.


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