12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
surprisingly easy-to-read, 3 July 2002
This book was a set text on my comparative fiction course at university - it took barely a day to complete. What gives it a modern feel is its emphasis on dialogue rather than the weighty descriptive pieces which tend to characterise Victorian prose. Any polyglot will tell you that much is subtly lost in all translations. My translation was particularly sloppy at times - but the central themes were nevertheless conveyed to me, teaching me a little about the Nihilist movement abounding circa 1860 although not too much about Russian society. Indeed, the novel has a certain cosmopolitan feel to it. Bazarov's dogged, dry contempt towards Romantic 'rubbish' is striking and often amusing, while Madam Odintsov provides an interesting female counterpart, who may or may not be harbouring 'Romantic' sentiments herself, beneath her Russian ice queen facade. The only moments to leave at least a short-term impression on the reader include the voiced philosophical musings of these two characters, for whom happiness always seems to be 'existent elsewhere'.