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First Love Paperback – April 27, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
"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.Read more ›
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".
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm used to Turgenev's plays so I was excited to see this short story. Not my favorite of his works.Published 7 months ago by Keri
The final image of the novel, of the old lady in rags and dying on a hard floor with a sack under her head as she fights to stay alive despite a lifetime of misery gives the novel... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Dan Harlow
Perfect novella of teenage love, perfectly told. Disturbing and true.Published 19 months ago by Eric D Lehman
Read in just two settings. Very lyrical dialog. He is a good writer and story teller.Published 19 months ago by John P
In a brief,fast paced emotional narrative,Turgenev captures the intense feelings of youthful passion, betrayal and disillusion. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Phillip White
This was my first time to read Turgenev in English translation. I'm so much satisfied.Published 21 months ago by Keizo.g
I have no idea when I purchased this book so I'm going to give this an okay approval rating. I hope you fellers enjoy it.Published on March 2, 2013 by Stephen Payne
"A few paces from me---on a lawn flanked by green raspberry canes---stood a tall, slender girl in a striped pink dress with a white kerchief on her head. Read morePublished on February 11, 2013 by komyathy
This short book is a life lesson. The description has been used before but this book is a gem, in size of the paperback, length, and of course as precious stone. Read morePublished on September 18, 2012 by Theo Lee