Turgenev was an author with whom I was not familiar and yet he is held in very high esteem both in Russia and parts of the West. This work is felt to be his masterpiece and one can see why. Not only is the subject fascinating (it was written during the liberation of the serfs in Russia in 1861 and therefore picks up the tensions created in the lives of the ‘fathers’ who have serfs on their farms), but also the easy flow of his writing.
He wrote it when visiting the Isle of Wight and observing the relative freedoms and avant garde attitudes of young men in the country. He creates such a young man as the central character to his story and credits him with being a nihilist, someone who is independent of conventions and tries to live his life based on logical realism.
If you like Russian literature, this is a satisfying read – and most of the characters’ names are easy to remember!
Fathers and Sons is translated by Richard Freeborn and published by Oxford World’s Classics, available on Amazon