20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
A neglected classic,
This review is from: Fathers and Sons (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
I love a good Russian saga but haven't got the hours in my life to read `War and Peace' every week. Thankfully `Fathers and Sons' offers a great, if some what neglected, classic in a couple of hundred pages. My copy of Ivan Turgenev's classic is a new translation by Richard Freeborn and some of the slang has been translated into modern idiom. I found this a little grating at first, but soon got into the swing of the characters using words like `dad'. I understand the translator's choice as this really is a book about the youth culture of its time. The two main characters Arkady and Bazarov are young men returning from study to their parents. It is a clash of worlds. Bazarov the nihilist or `new man' stirs up trouble where ever he goes. A man who declares Romanticism to be dead and then promptly falls in love! I wish Nihilism would come back as a valid philosophy. Oh, to be able to say `what's the point' and not to feel bad about it. Arkady has been in his friend's shadow but gradually he frees himself, finding love and compassion along the way.
There is tragedy and love in this brilliant story of the conflict between generations. Both father and son find a happiness and acceptance in marriage, while Bazarov and his neglected family will never find such peace. There is even something about daughters in this book, in fact one of the strongest characters is a woman, Anna, only Turgenev never quite gets inside her mind as he does with Bazarov and Arkady. `Fathers and Sons' offers an insight into Russian society of the Nineteenth Century but it also reflects the timeless troubles and joys of fathers and sons everywhere.