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First Love (Penguin Great Loves) Paperback – 2 Aug 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (2 Aug. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141032820
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141032825
  • Product Dimensions: 11.5 x 1 x 18 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 604,289 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Small wonders"
--"Time Out London"
"I wanted them all, even those I'd already read."
--Ron Rosenbaum, "The New York Observe"r --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Ivan Turgenev (1818-1883) was born in the province of Oryol, Russia. In 1843 he fell in love with Pauline Garcia-Vardot, a young Spanish singer, who influenced the rest of his life. After 1856 he lived mostly abroad and became the first Russian writer to gain a reputation in Europe.

His series of six novels, which reflects a period of Russian life from the 1830s to the 1870s, are Rudin (1856), Home of the Gentry (1859), On the Eve (1860), Fathers and Sons (1862), Smoke (1867) and Virgin Soil (1877). He also wrote plays, short stories and novellas, of which First Love (1860) is the most famous.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Paul Callick on 18 Mar. 2008
Format: Paperback
Simply beautiful. One of the most overlooked of the nineteenth-century writers, Turgenev (like his friend Maupassant) was a master craftsman as well as an amzing observer of people and scenes; this little book, together with Scenes From a Hunter's Album, is his best. And here is surely the best of all the translations into English from the Russian novels: V.S. Pritchett's lucid, pared-down style fits the bill so well. Don't look further for a translation of First Love. It also has a terrific little essay by Isaiah Berlin as an introduction. Well done to Penguin for keeping this in print for almost 30 years. Maybe they should try now to reprint the marvellous collections of short stories by Pritchett, too...
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 4 Nov. 2001
Format: Paperback
These six stories offer subtle variations on the theme of first love, often beautifully evoked through the first person narrative to highlight the autoboigraphical nature of some of the episodes. Turgenev creates contrasts of moods which capture either the ecstacy or misery of falling in love. For example, in the title piece, 'First Love', the young boy feels the bliss of his first crush and first kiss, which is finally defeated by his own father. The main message of the book is that nothing is permanent, and that love does not lead to a happy marriage nor to fullfilment. This is enhanced by the episodic nature of the tales which often capture just one moment of a larger timescale. The book is also historically interesting as it contains some of the first Russian literature to have become widely known throughout Europe in the nineteenth century. If you enjoy these stories I would recommend you try some of Turgenev's longer novels.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brownbear101 on 25 May 2009
Format: Paperback
A tiny short story following the first crush of a 16 year old boy who finds that his father is his rival. Accurate, perceptive and nicely twisted but not elegant enough to be a true great.

The story of a summer romance between the 16 year old middle-class Vladimir Petrovich and the impoverished, bewitching, Princess Zinaida - who moves next door. Vladimir is completely intoxicated with Zinaida who flirts with Vladimir and a circle of half a dozen other, older, boys. But Zinaida also falls in love and Vladimir discovers that it is with his own father.

This is a neat and atmospheric short story that conjures up a summer of intense puppy love for the adolescent Vladimir, exploring his own feelings and using him as a sonar to detect those of Zinaida. What brings life to this otherwise slightly sweet brew is Zinaida's hopeless affair with Vladimir's father which explodes the emotional range of the book's cast and transforms the lives of Vladimir, Zinaidia and the father too.

This would be a very modern tale remade as a movie in (say) high school America - not a million miles from American Beauty. As a book it doesn't quite have the grace or effortlessness of the very best storytellers and it reads more like a fable than the truth.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Aran on 6 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback
Captures the frenzy of first-love with its highs and lows and renders them in beautiful, very Russian prose.
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