|Ivan Turgenev in a Beautiful Library|
Despite this, in the past few days Turgenev has become one of my favorite authors. As part of my Summer Reading, I've been choosing a much wider variety of books than normal. Turgenev's First Love sat on the local library shelf. I picked it up on a whim, read the back, read the first couple of pages, and was sold. A book about Russian Aristocracy, dealing with concerns of love and well created main heroines? What isn't to love?
Turgenev's main strength is how accessible he is- much like Austen. The Penguin Classic's translator is lucid and, apparently does great credit to Turgenev's writing. His characters are well formed and interesting. Their conflicts- mostly internal struggles- are exciting to read. Just enough is left out of the exposition that the reader has to work to fill in some of the details- a trait missing in many American authors.
But what charmed me the most about First Love is that his charming characters are actually charming. Too many times have I read stories where social, charming, captivating characters are so not because of their actions or words, but because of their descriptions or the rather false reactions of other characters. I actually liked Turganev's heroines- which is a feat for writing about the 1840's. Their actions were charming, I could see why they ensnared the attentions of many men. Yet, they weren't obnoxious or cloying.
In short, I highly recommend this author. You have the satisfaction of reading a classic, but reading it for pleasure rather than obligation. His characters are delightful to observe and you feel a real pathos.