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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars lovely for a first turgenev, 20 Jan 2004
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marty mcfly - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
I am an avid reader of American and European fiction from the late 19th century onwards and have never delved into the Russians, so, instead of going in headlong to a War and Peace or Brothers Karamazov, i picked up the novella First Love by Turgenev. The writing is simple, the story instantly engaging and the sentiment easy enough to relate to.
Three men sit around following supper and discuss their respective first loves, neither of the first two has an interesting tale to tell, but the third has an intriguing story which he writes down and proceeds to tell us.
Aged 16 our young hero spends the summer in a cottage in the country with his rather detached parents when an aged and impoverished princess and her daughter move in next door. The daughter is beautiful, our narrator becomes infatuated and he suffers all the agony of a first love, a first realisation that such things do not always turn out as we might have hoped, and all the while struggling to understand his own life and his own relationship to his parents.
The twist in the tale is a little obvious and the extra cast of characters perhaps a little under-developed, but the central narrator is a journey through the emotions and his journey is extremely engaging. A very successful first Russian for me and i shall now move on and report back with the findings!!
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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First Love, 28 April 2004
My first experience of Russian 19C. Loved this book and will enjoydiscussing it at our book group.
CONS: Felt half the characterssuperfluous and was left with little feeling of depth for most of them.
PROS: Translated sympathetically and, although the "twist int' tale" waspredictable, I felt somewhat pleased when it was discovered. It wasalmost as though Turgenev wanted us to guess it in advance!
Perfect screenplay material.
Read it once in an hour, then over again immediately.
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First Love and Other Stories (Oxford World's Classics)
First Love and Other Stories (Oxford World's Classics) by Ivan Turgenev (Paperback - 12 Jun 2008)
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