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First Love Paperback – August 25, 2013
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Top Customer Reviews
I was pleased to discover 'First Love', a short story by Turgenev about a young man friend-zoned by a beautiful, capricious princess, Zinaida. Written in the 1860s, the narrator sadly did not have the chance to read Ladder Theory or Dave D'angelo's Double Your Dating.
Zinaida may seem cruel, but she is not; she is simply young, and enjoys the attentions of her many suitors, but never deludes them to think they may have a chance. As often happens in real life, she falls instead for the strong man, who can bend her to his will, not to the beta-males cowering at her feet.
First Love is told in the first person, and we feel we are there with the narrator as he describes his emotions with intelligent clarity. We are there with him as he loves Zinaida with a mad intensity one never wishes to experience again, though is glad to have experienced.
Turgenev writes very evocatively and clearly. I particularly liked the many descriptions of animals and the natural world. And the way the story ends - that stunning final paragraph - is complex indeed. It leaves us thinking not just about what it means to be a man, and what it means to be in love. But also it reflects on the transitory nature of existence, and the importance of faith and struggle.
I was very impressed by Turgenev's story, and also by this edition, which is immaculately illustrated with a range of photographs that added to my appreciation of the story.
When I came upon 192 Books in Manhattan and saw Turgenev's book on display, I found myself drawn to it. This book, like the store, is a gem of classic literature.
I began reading late in the evening and read past midnight, surprised and drawn in by the book's eloquence and simplicity. It is shocking in its conclusion and made me research the book first thing this morning. In the final chapters, Shades of Gray came to mind and it was the last book I imagined would. 50 Shades may be out of print 50 years from now, but First Love is eternal.
If you read it, get Berlin's translation.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Taught 19c writing covering all the great Russian themes. A real treat.Published 9 months ago by WIlliam Nicholas