Tag Archives: Ivan Turgenev

Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev

This is a brilliant book dealing with the love of fathers towards their sons. Arcady and Bazarov return to Arcady’s father’s house in rural hinterland of mid-19th century. They are idealistic and have developed a nihilistic approach in life where Arcady is in awe of Bazarov. Arcady’s father Nicholas and Paul are old timers who have modernised by freeing serfs and Nicholas loves his son but is upset when both Arcady and Bazarov decide to leave their home to go to a neighbour where they visit Anna Sergeyevna who is a widow where surprisingly Bazarov falls madly in love with Anna who is older to him and Arcady has a crush on Anna but slowly moves towards Katya, Anna’s sister. Falling in love was like an anathema to Bazarov due to his nihilistic leanings, so both of them come back to Arcady’s house. In between Bazarov visits his old parents Vassily Ivanich and Arina Vlassyevna his father and mother. His parents are old and they are deliriously excited to have Bazarov back and shower him with blessings and love which Bazarov likes in the beginning but starts detesting later on, again his nihilistic leanings throwing him against his own parents. The interplay between Bazarov and his parents and their emotions which Bazarov so cruelly crushes is where “Fathers and Sons” achieves greatness. Turgenev has written beautifully and movingly and it would be difficult not to get emotionally involved in this father-son interlude. Love of a father towards his offspring is greater than any idealism that this world produces in mid-19th century or even now in the early 21st century and this is what makes Turgenev’s book timeless. “He has abandoned us, he has abandoned us” quivered Vassily Ivanich when Bazarov leaves his home  – this was an absolutely gut wrenching part of the book. After Anna rejects his love due to her strong independence, Bazarov returns to Arcady’s house and falls in love again with Nicholas’s young mistress whom he kisses which is seen by Paul who detests Bazarov for his arrogance and his anti-authority views. Bazarov is forced to leave Arcady’s house due to a gun duel with Paul. What happens to Bazarov, Arcady and their old parents – this book is highly recommended – a Russian classic – my rating 5/5

Leave a comment

Filed under readings