It’s been a while since I last reviewed some books for you… So today, I decided to talk about one book I read not long ago. Hopefully you’ll like my opinion about it and you’ll feel like reading it too!
First of all, know that today, I felt like guiding you though Russian literature! Yes, yes, Russian! I believe it to be one of the most amazing literature the world has ever seen. Through its words, its powerful content – reading a Russian book is really a great introspection, a wonderful analysis of the human nature and mind. (I’m not making things up, right – Russian novels are indeed well known for the way they describe peoples’ mind, the society, its vices and flaws.)
Though, Russian literature isn’t the easiest type of literature to read. It’s deep, sometimes complicated, most of the time rather long. We can only think of Tolstoi and the monstrous War and Peace monument. However, there are also some short novels, novellas, short fictions from Russian author and, thus, today, I thought I’d talk about one of those that I read recently.
by Ivan Sergueïevitch Tourgueniev
What’s the story about?
As you can guess by the title, this story is about the first love of the narrator. The prologue indicates that three friends are reunited and are talking about their first loves. Whilst the two first have a brief story to say the third one, Vladimir Pétrovitch, has a much more interesting story to share. It is thus decided that he will write it down and read the note to them afterwards, as he fears to be uninteresting if he were to say the story on the spot. Thus, we actually read the notes Vladimir Pétrovitch would have written to his friends, and we go back to his teen years, when he had his first love.
Why did I like it?
It’s typical Russian style. Deep, with a real beauty in the words and feelings analysis, with a brilliant realism, with characters that are fascinating, complete but mysterious at the same time… it’s really a great piece of work. It is enjoyable to read, we are taken by Vladimir Pétrovitch’s feelings and it is incredible how his way of thinking could be applicable to any of us, in love during our teens.
It shows how one can be completely reduced to a jack’s role when in love, blindly following whatever the loved one tells us to do, wants us to be. It shows the power of love on one’s mind – but the writing is simple and beautiful enough for it to be not overwhelming, rather enjoyable and peaceful to read.
I really fell in love with some parts of the novel, where the author, Tourgeniev, described the narrator’s feelings, the falling-in-love bit. It is beautifully written and you can only read it while feeling like completely overwhelmed with the beauty. I truly love it when a book does this effect on me – and hopefully you’ll be able to feel the same.
“Oh, sweet emotions, gentle harmony, goodness and peace of the softened heart, melting bliss of the first raptures of love, where are they, where are they?”
Excerpt From: Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev. “First Love.”
What did I not enjoy?
Let’s be honest – nothing is perfect, and neither is this book. There are indeed some details that I did not particularly enjoyed but well, nothing too big rest assured. I’m still telling you, thus you’re aware of these little facts and you’ll fully know what to expect.
This said, on to the criticism.
I must say that I quite was disappointed with the ending. Well, all in all, it is a great ending, but be aware that it stops quite abruptly and thus can be quite destabilising. One may ask itself whether one part is missing or not… and, well, no,nothing is missing, it is indeed ending this way. I was quite taken by surprise but well, thinking back about it, it is one very powerful ending. While surprising on the spot, it will sink in your mind and will leave some trace, I believe. Well, personally, I really do have the final sentences floating before my eyes. Thing is, you should keep in mind that it is quite abrupt and might be frustrating but, thinking back on it, it is indeed a beautiful ending. (Tho, if you survived through Paper Towns’ ending, then you’re all good. (Defo the most frustrating ending ever, am I right? (I’ll be writing about that in the next book review, by the way))).
Another critic I could make would be on the character of the girl Vladimir is in love with. While magnificent, mysterious and fascinating, she is also sometimes quite annoying and we’d love to give her two or three slaps in the face. Well, that’s quite a fake criticism as it also shows how realistic the book is as I almost got the living vibes of this character. I felt that she was right there being all princessy, mighty and all – and got really pissed off. However, as good as this is, it is also quite annoying as I sometimes felt like closing the book because I got tired of her attitude. However, I finished it all in one go, and this is definitely showing that it is worth it despite everything – even despite the princess lover, see!
RECOMMENDED 100% ! It’s a great book to get into Russian literature, I believe, as you have all the little elements typical of this kind of literature, but it’s also not as overwhelming as Tolstoi’s big books could be and thus a great start into this genre. Moreover, the story is touching, realistic and very well described. The writing is powerful and beautiful, some sentences are truly masterpieces. Thus, ladies and gentlemen, please be aware – once you’ll have read this book, you’ll definitely fall in love with Russian literature and soon enough, your friends will see you reading Tolstoi with passion!
In the same genre, you have “White Nights” by Dostoievski that you can read if you want to try some other short stories before trying out the big fat books. It is also a romance and it’s one of my favorites. You’ll surely like it if you enjoyed “First Love”!
Well now, little pies, this is all for today’s review. I hope you enjoyed this and feel like trying out Russian literature now! If you do, please tell me if you liked it or not, what you’ve read and all. I’d love talking and sharing recs with you!
Until next time,