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Fathers and Sons


Fathers and Sons


Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons* opens with young Arkady and his friend Bazarov returning home from school to visit Arkady's father Nikolai Petrovitch Kirsanov, who lives on a declining estate with his young mistress and Nikolai's brother Paul. 

The story takes place in the 1860’s, the time of the liberation of the serfs, and Nikolai, a well-intentioned liberal aristocrat has been fair-minded with them.

But Bazarov is a nihilist, and Arkady his willing acolyte.

Compassionate liberalism and half steps are not enough for them.

Bazarov is rudely dismissive of anything he considers useless, and in that category he includes art, beauty and romance. Indeed, he wants to tear down the entire structure of Russian society and start over. 

His raging tirades offer a frightening foreshadowing of Russia's bloody future.

*“My favorite novel is Ivan Turgenev's Fathers and Sons, a ravishing knockout of a book that explains just about everything you need to know about families, love, heartache, religion, duels and the institution of serfdom in 19th-century Russia, not to mention advice on how to seduce your housekeeper's young daughter. In short, it's a Russian masterpiece, one written so beautifully and with such economy, that when you finish reading it you feel a little shaken and a little stirred.”

—Gary Shteyngart


IVAN TURGENEV (1818–1883) was a Russian novelist, short story writer, and playwright. His novel Fathers and Sons is regarded as one of the major works of 19th-century fiction. He is also known for such masterworks as The Diary of a Superfluous Man, First Love, Torrents of Spring, King Lear of the Steppes, and Smoke.




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