I’m not sure what to make of this book. It is a moral tale of the effects of a man’s laziness, inertia and a life apparently wasted – if judged by social norms. Yet his is a life of love, not only from a woman but from his friends and servants. It is a life of missed opportunities, lost potential and yet has a richness that normal society fails to understand. Oblomov lives in the moment and takes life just as it comes, without judgement. And he’s happy.
He never looks ahead, doesn’t scheme or plan, has no career to speak of yet is adored and admired by his many friends. In theory, his life should be in ruins, but he continues to enjoy each day as it comes and, without begging, receives all he needs from those he meets and befriends.
The style of the book reminds me of a ‘fly on the wall’ documentary, one that peeps into a life, makes no comment on it, draws no conclusions and then goes away, having avoided all and any interactions with the life being observed. It’s a fascinating read!
Oblomov is translated by Stephen Pearl and published by Alma Classics. It is available on Amazon.