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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 13 July 2005
This is one of my favourite novels, and one of the very finest of the golden age of Russian literature in the nineteenth century, up there with Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky.
Goncharov only wrote a handful of books (3 novels and a travelogue), and of these Oblomov is by far the best (although his final novel, The Precipice is under-rated and of interest too). Oblomov is the simple story of a nobleman in Tsarist Russia who has plenty of opportunities for success in love and life, but who finds it very difficult to take them - or indeed to do anything decisive at all other than laze around.
Oblomov seems to embody potential unfulfilled and a stubborn to change and take on new ideas, and he has been seen by many as a metaphor for pre-revolution Russia. 'Oblomovism' has apparently become a common term in Russia, meaning, of course, procrastination or inaction.
Amazingly for a book about seemingly so little, Oblomov glides by, perhaps because it is so well written. This is a singular and fascinating novel, with some stunningly detailed and well drawn characters. It may be of a very different style to most modern books, but I wuld strongly recommend it.
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on 25 September 2000
This is a wonderful story of an extremely lazy and kind-hearted nobleman who sees his life and only love waste away before his eyes, but cannot bring himself to act to prevent it. It is a delightful evocation of the comical and melancholy life on a Russian estate and a sad and gripping portrait of a good man undone by his own lethargy.
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on 15 February 2013
Oblomov by Ivan Goncharov is a fantastic novel, and a must read fof any fan of Russian literature.

However, this edition is NOT it! It seems to be a heavily edited, abridged version.

If you wish to read Oblomov, you can't go wrong with the Penguin Classics edition, which is still available and easy to find, on Zmazon, Ebay and publisher website.
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on 27 March 2013
This Kindle edition contains LESS THAN ONE THIRD of the text of the novel - my Russian edition has 470 pages, the Kindle text only 140. Whole chapters are missing, e.g. of Part 2 only three out of 12 chapters are included. The translation and notes are unreliable, e.g anachronistically referring to Petrograd instead of St Petersburg. Even at a fairly low Kindle price this is a rip-off.
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on 21 May 2009
"To be or not to be, that is the question!.."
The famous words, the famous direction of philosophising. Oblomov, just like Hamlet, answers "No", but in a different way. "What is the point in keeping up with the Joneses, improving tyre factory efficiency by 0.5%, producing pointless generic rubbish that many people devote their life to, how does it all relate to the ideal of human nature?" : asks Oblomov. Ultimate honesty rejects vanity of such pursuits, but ... what fills the resulting vacuum?

Sorrow and death. Oblomov gives up his humanistic ideals and lives out his life like an oyster - consuming and displacing, maintaining physical comfortableness/peace of his own environment. Driven to achieve simple animal pleasure "in the moment" (postponing distressing things) he achieves sorrow in his mental "life as a whole".

This sorrow of Oblomov may well be "the truth"- if there is no point of life then what is the point of striving? Shtolz- Oblomov's friend and his complete opposite- does not provide us with an answer; but maybe gives us a hint towards it. The ideal of human nature may not be knowledge of some facts (these are impenetrable), but only in striving towards that knowledge. Striving=human nature=happiness.
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on 19 June 2014
NB - This review concerns the Kindle version.

Don't buy this edited version - it is a scam. This Kindle edition is around 180 pages - only a third of the book! I only noticed when I found a paperback copy in a bookshop and then began to investigate further.

I bought this in error and feel a ruddy fool.

BG
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VINE VOICEon 11 November 2010
Oblomov left me sobbing towards its conclusion, a reaction I did not anticipate at the outset. I found that as the story progressed I became more and more engrossed in a character, whose initial chaotic presentation consisted of lying around lazily in his room, mainly sleeping, often shouting at his servant, entertaining uninvited guests, eating and drinking. Oblomov the absent landowner appears broke, on the verge of eviction from his city apartment and hounded by indecision. Then comes the dream, wherein Oblomov's character gently coalesces into that of a child hopelessly romanticising those halcyon days of innocence. Thereafter Oblomov, the man/child, after much prompting from his childhood friend, departs his immediate surroundings, meets Olga and the rest is poetry.
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on 12 January 2011
This is a superb novel, do not misunderstand me; but what intrigues me is Penguins strange decision to put a painting of Garshin (an even more superb writer) by Ilya Repin on the cover; a bit like putting an Hank Williams picture on an Elvis Presley album.
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on 12 January 2011
4.5 stars. This is classic Russian literature (nearly) at its best. I didn't notice any typos and the translation (as far as I can tell) is excellent, since there was never any confusion or odd wording. The characters are very well-drawn and the story was never boring, even though there are plenty of long passages with very little going on. I could identify strongly with some of the characters and have a lot of respect for the author's psychological insight into different types of people. The introduction is informative and interesting without giving too much of the book away, as is usually the case. It mentions that the book was written in different stages, over a long period of time, and this can be seen in the writing. There was something I didn't like about the story, towards the end, which is why I have given it a half star less, but I can't quite put my finger on it. I think it has something to do with inconsistency on the part of one of the main characters, or perhaps only the incomplete portrayal of the same. Nevertheless, I would highly recommend this book to lovers of the genre, and to those who like their books with a healthy dose of analytical insight into the human condition.
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on 30 December 2014
A really short and easy read as this is apparently not the full version, but it doesn't seem to miss the missing parts; it isn't at all disjointed. It's pretty tragic overall but is actually really funny too. I generally don't do films at all, but it makes me want to find the film version.
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