So You Want to Read… (Ivan Turgenev)

Posted 26 December, 2017 by Lianne in Lists / 0 Comments

So You Want to Read… is a monthly feature here on in which I recommend books by particular authors to readers who have never read a book from certain authors and would like to start. I’m always happy to recommend books and certain authors to my fellow readers and bloggers! 🙂

And here we are, it’s December once again and so it’s another round of So You Want to Read…! I’ve been having a lot of fun putting these posts together and I hope you also have been discovering a lot of new books through these posts. I’ve been getting busier in the past year so like many things, this feature will also be re-jigged in the coming year. It will still be featured in 2018 but I think the frequency might change depending on how the year shapes up and how much content I have to share. I’ll repeat the news in the December updates 🙂

So anyway, for this month I decided to feature Russian classic author Ivan Turgenev. As winter begins to roll in, I have a tendency of turning towards the Russians; there’s something about the weather and the classics that just work together, and of course Russian winters also come to mind. Turgenev is one of my favourite Russian authors around, his stories are rich and characters and plots are fleshed out without sacrificing the underlying themes that he wants to discuss and vice versa. First time reading Ivan Turgenev’s works? Here’s my recommendations on where to start:

  • Fathers and Sons (review) — This was my first Turgenev book and it remains my absolute favourite from him (and one of my top favourite books ever, period). I had to read it for my Imperial Russian history class in university and it remains in my mind the perfect example of seamlessly balancing storytelling with sociopolitical commentary; I could not put this book down when I started reading it.
  • Home of the Gentry (review) — Another excellent novel from Turgenev about a man who returns home, disillusioned by his failed marriage, and is confronted not only with contrasts between living conditions and experiences but also possibilities of the future. There’s a few different themes that Turgenev explores in this book but is nonetheless excellent and quite the page-turner.
  • Rudin — If you want to start with something slightly shorter in length, there’s Rudin. It was easy to slip into the story and it’s sort of like a precursor to Fathers and Sons in that the novella explores the idea of the superfluous man and contrasts in generations and ideas of the Slavophiles verses the Westernisers in terms of the future of Russia. So if you want to read something like Fathers and Sons but not necessarily start with that book, you can start with this one (albeit it is not as fleshed out as the former).

And that’s my list! If you’ve read Ivan Turgenev’s books, which one is your favourite? Which would you recommend for first-time readers? Or which books have you been meaning to get around to reading? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

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