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review 2015-07-30 00:27
Fathers & Sons
Fathers and Sons - Ivan Turgenev,Richard Freeborn

When I'm drawing a blank about what I want to say in my space about a book, I go take a stroll through my highlights for inspiration.

 

No inspiration was found this time around! Funnily enough, what I did notice was that when taken in quotes, this book feels quite heavy - when, on the whole, it was very readable.

 

I had trouble connecting with any one character though I probably most enjoyed Nikolai. His inappropriate love for the servant girl, adoration of his son, and desire to do good by his freed farmers sort of grounds him among the rest of the cast who were quite focused on their own sphere.

 

Of speaking of the young 'nihilists' or 'the sons', Nikolai says:

 

'Do you know what I was reminded of, brother? I once had a dispute with our poor mother; she stormed, and wouldn't listen to me. At last I said to her, "Of course, you can't understand me; we belong," I said, "to two different generations." She was dreadfully offended, while I thought, "There's no help for it. It's a bitter pill, but she has to swallow it." You see, now, our turn has come, and our successors can say to us, "You are not of our generation; swallow your pill."

And shortly later, regarding the 'fathers':

 

'My brother says we are right,' he thought, 'and apart from all vanity, I do think myself that they are further from the truth than we are, though at the same time I feel there is something behind them we have not got, some superiority over us.... Is it youth? No; not only youth. Doesn't their superiority consist in there being fewer traces of the slaveowner in them than in us?'

 

Which, I think is my takeaway thought. Every generation has to come to grips with the mistakes they make while juggling the solutions to the previous lots mistakes.  Wisdom is gained, not gifted. Taking stock in what we believe to be the truth should be done with an open mind - sometimes tradition wins and should win. But not always. In a book that is in essence about generational gaps, Nikolai was who I felt I'd personally relate to.

 

Overall, it was very fine to watch Arkady part from the discipleship of Bazarov, our principle nihilist,  and forge his own path, one that leads to love and happiness. 

 

The irony of Anna not being able to feel, while Bazarov who feels a great deal though he doesn't believe in feeling, was not lost on me. This experience of heartbreak did a big fat load of nothing to help Bazarov become a something other than an ass.

 

Which is unfortunate, because his own father speaks so lovingly of him:

 

"He is averse to every kind of demonstration of feeling; many people even find fault with him for such firmness of character, and regard it as a proof of pride or lack of feeling, but men like him ought not to be judged by the common standard, ought they? And here, for example, many another fellow in his place would have been a constant drag on his parents; but he, would you believe it? has never from the day he was born taken a farthing more than he could help, that's God's truth!' And I don't only idolise him, Arkady Nikolaitch, I am proud of him, and the height of my ambition is that some day there will be the following lines in his biography: "The son of a simple army-doctor, who was, however, capable of divining his greatness betimes, and spared nothing for his education ..."' The old man's voice broke"

 

Which is why, in the end, I didn't feel a whole lot of gushing love for this book. Bazarov was not redeemed. And while I can understand the reality that few men of his caliber of egocentricity are redeemed, I still don't have to like it.

 

Still, that aside, I think there is a satisfactory outcome for all other characters and I'm glad I read it.

 

 

 

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text 2015-07-06 23:15
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Fathers and Sons - Ivan Turgenev,Richard Freeborn

 Classics Club group read for July - Join us!

 

"But to Nikolai, there remained the sense of a well-spent life, his son was growing up under his eyes; Pavel, on the contrary, a solitary bachelor, was entering upon that indefinite twilight period of regrets that are akin to hopes, and hopes that are akin to regrets, when youth is over, while old age has not yet come."

 

While not quite yet middle aged,  I certainly have felt the pinch during certain times of my life where I've wallowed in the melancholy that my best years are behind me and I've many missed opportunities.

 

Then I quit that crap, remember tomorrow isn't promised to me, and make the most of today.

 

Therefore my sympathy for Pavel is a trifle thin. Here's hoping his sympathetic character doesn't cross the line to pathetic.

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review 2014-02-02 21:52
The Jewel of Seven Stars
The Jewel of Seven Stars - Bram Stoker

A mysterious attack on Margaret Trelawney's father brings young lawyer Malcolm Ross into the Egyptologist's bizarre home, and the couple soon find they are battling ancient forces greater than they previously could have imagined. The Egyptian queen Tera has been awoken, and is coming to take what she believes to be hers - whatever the cost to the Trelawney family. Set in London and Cornwall, and written at a time when a fascination with the East pervaded Victorian England, The Jewel of Seven Stars reflected the perceived contrast between the Orient's savagery and moral degradation, and its exotic beauty and opulence. (source)

 

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review 2013-03-20 00:00
The Group - Mary McCarthy,Candace Bushnell 1st attempt - I just can't get into the characters. I find myself drifting and having to read bits again. This book isn't holding my attention and so i've decided to move on.

2nd attempt - about a week later. I decided to give this book a 2nd chance mostly because i can't abide not finishing a book. I definitely didn't enjoy this book. The characters left me spitting mad especially Kay. Your husband commits you to a mental institution which is really just one in a long line of abuses her husband doles out and her response is to blame herself and go off in this nutty tangent. I think this book revolved around 5 women and not one of them exhibited any sense whatsoever. And college graduates to boot. I actually thought what a waste of oxygen these people are while i was reading this book.
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review 2010-08-29 00:00
The Group - Mary McCarthy,Candace Bushnell A book, written in 1963 about 8 women finishing college and starting life in 1933 was always going to be a bit dated. Other than that it was very well written and a fascinating study of female friendships. And it was also remarkable how little things seem to have changed really, although we would like to think we women have made great progress.
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