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First Love Paperback – April 27, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 372 pages
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Library (April 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002IKLFDG
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,293,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"I wanted them all, even those I'd already read."
—Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer

"Small wonders."
Time Out London

"[F]irst-rate…astutely selected and attractively packaged…indisputably great works."
—Adam Begley, The New York Observer

"I’ve always been haunted by Bartleby, the proto-slacker. But it’s the handsomely minimalist cover of the Melville House edition that gets me here, one of many in the small publisher’s fine 'Art of the Novella' series."
The New Yorker

"The Art of the Novella series is sort of an anti-Kindle. What these singular, distinctive titles celebrate is book-ness. They're slim enough to be portable but showy enough to be conspicuously consumed—tiny little objects that demand to be loved for the commodities they are."
—KQED (NPR San Francisco)

"Some like it short, and if you're one of them, Melville House, an independent publisher based in Brooklyn, has a line of books for you... elegant-looking paperback editions ...a good read in a small package."
The Wall Street Journal --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Language Notes

Text: English, Russian (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 18 customer reviews
He does that in beautiful prose, realistic and lyric simultaneusly.
Moises I. Orozco
I felt stupid the next morning, but was still overwhelmed with the beauty of what I'd read.
Ivar Dale
So Zinaida, the 21-year-old object of desire in FIRST LOVE, tells the 16-year-old narrator.
The JuRK

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Ivar Dale on July 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
I read this book one very, very cold winter's night in St.Petersburg, sitting at a sleazy 24-hour bar by the Gulf of Finland, where I was the only guest. I sat there drinking numerous beers, reading this novella - and was practically in tears by the time I had finished it. By then I'd gotten unreasonably buzzed, so I stumbled over to the barlady (who, needless to say, was called Natasha), and congratulated her on being Russian, for that meant that she'd been born in the same country where Turgenev wrote this lovely, tragic, wonderfully sentimental story. I felt stupid the next morning, but was still overwhelmed with the beauty of what I'd read. I am uncertain how much the setting I read this book in had to do with how much I liked it, and I wonder what it'd be like to read it now, sober, at home, but I suspect it of being pretty damn brilliant no matter where you read it. Well, maybe except if you're from California or something. At any rate - "First Love" rocks.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By mp on February 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
Turgenev's novella, "First Love" is a compact, but intense, fiction whose realism blends with its literary allusions, dream-like qualities, and point of view to create a work of undeniable power. This is a novella which questions the boundaries between life and art, asking us all the while where love resides in self, family, and society.
"First Love" begins in a style reminiscent of Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales." Following a long dinner party, three men are in the middle of a calm conversation, when the unnamed host proposes that they all share the stories of their first loves. Two men's stories are quickly dismissed, leaving Vladimir Petrovich, a pensive middle aged man, who offers to give his story after having a chance to write it out. Vladimir's story concerns a summer when he was 16. Living in the country with a dissatisfied mother and an agonizingly Byronic father, Vladimir happens upon a dispossessed 21-year-old princess, Zinaida. From her shabby home, the beautiful and mysterious Zinaida commands a court of six men of varying ages and backgrounds - a poet, a doctor, a minor nobleman, a soldier, and Vladimir - each of whom is desperate to win her affection at any cost. For his own part, Vladimir attempts throughout the story to discover the roots of his own fascination with Zinaida.
Part of the appeal of "First Love" is its point of view. It is a true first person narrative - we only ever know Vladimir's experience - the effect is a realistic account of the infatuation, love, doubt, and inner turmoil of a young man told through the hindsight of age and experience.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Alex Udvary on September 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
At the risk of not sounding manly, I must admit I love Russian literature! And, Turgenev is one of my favorites. I've also felt that he has never been fully appreciated to the degree he should be. When most people think of Russian literature obvisously authors like Dostoevsky (my favorite author), Tolstoy, and Chekhov come to mind but one rarely hears someone speak highly of Turgenev, or maybe it's merely the people whom I hang around with. "First Love" is so wonderfully written, it's so full of charm, wit, humor, and basic human emotions that as one goes on reading we almost relive our own first love experience. We think back to when we were young and how we felt when we had that crush on someone. How the whole world seemed different and exciting. Well, Turgenev managed to recapture those feelings we may have put aside. The story is about Vladimir Petrovichand he tells how he has fallen for Zinaida, the daughter of a Princess. He takes us along with him as he recalls his memories of what it was like when he first met her. And how he also was able to grow up and learn from this experience. I can't praise this book highly enough. A wonderful read!
Very good translation by Isaiah Berlin. If after reading this you want to read more by Turgenev try "A Month In The Country" and "Spring Torrents".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By The JuRK on November 24, 2005
Format: Paperback
So Zinaida, the 21-year-old object of desire in FIRST LOVE, tells the 16-year-old narrator.

So the accursed "let's be friends" line that objects of desire crush the hearts of men with dates back to at least 1833. (It's probably been around since the dawn of man, but I've heard it since the 1970s).

FIRST LOVE is a short but powerful novella that captures a young man's awakening while exploring all the "ecstacy" and "that slow poison" of adult love.

What struck me about reading it was how little people have changed. Societies and manners may shift a bit but the passions and betrayals that take place in the novel are as dramatic and real as anything you hear about today.

"O youth! youth! you go your way heedless, uncaring--as if you owned all the treasures of the world; even grief elates you, even sorrow sits well upon your brow. You are self-confident and insolent and you say, 'I alone am alive--behold!' even while your own days fly past and vanish without trace and without number, and everything within you melts away like wax in the sun...in the snow...."

For such a short work, there were many such passages that really connected with me. Turgenev was a master.
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