What started out as a cure for insomnia and an attempt to make up for my misspent youth has turned into a love affair with 19th century Russian novels. Doestoevsky and Tolstoy portray the brooding passion of the people, the dangers of journeying across borders and classes, the barren backdrop and gilded palaces, but Turgenev is the master of the depiction of the good an evil in every man and woman. His characters' falling in and out of love and back again are told with a loving intracacy that reminds me of Jane Austen, with the added measure of guilt that only a man could deliver. The tragic turns of the lovers' conversations are gripping. The picture of the smoke rising into the distance in one of the final chapters was truly delicious. The flitting back and forth from Russian to French finally helped me understand the role of French culture in this period. The reading by Stuart Langton is inspired. If you are interested in pre-revolutionary Russian culture, love reading about relationships, love Trollope and trains, you will love this book.
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