One of the most controversial Russian novels ever written, Fathers and Sons dramatizes the volcanic social conflicts that divided Russia just before the revolution, pitting peasants against masters, traditionalists against intellectuals, and fathers against sons. It is also a timeless depiction of the ongoing clash between generations.
When a young graduate returns home, he is accompanied-much to his father's and uncle's discomfort-by a strange friend who does not acknowledge any authority and does not accept any principle on faith. Bazarov is a nihilist, representing the new class of young radical intelligentsia that would come to overthrow the Russian aristocracy and its values. Uncouth and forthright in his opinions, Turgenev's hero is nonetheless susceptible to love and, by that fact, doomed to unhappiness.
Public Domain (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"Vividly portrays the unsettled state of Russian peasantry before the revolution." (Masterpieces of World Literature)
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"Russian Generation Gap or Families and Friends"
Anthony Heald's reading enhances this historically significant novel, clearly displaying age and attitude through his voice for each character.
Basically this is the story of two young men visiting family and friends in Russia as social changes are upsetting the old serf-landowner system. The young men start out in a state of "causeless melancholy, known only to young people." They offend and hurt their elders who seem to admire or respect them even as the young men sneer at them for their old fashioned ways. The parents understand that "a son is a separate piece."
As the story progresses, each of the young men is changed by experiencing romantic love--quite a challenge to fellows claiming to be nihilists, and each reacts differently.
The characters, however, are extreme and the story is obviously geared to teach, a style which has pretty much gone out of fashion now. The author's narrator intrudes and speaks to the reader several times and summarizes the "current" life of each of the characters at the end of the book.
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