Sunday, February 1, 2015

Finished off Turgenev's FATHERS AND SONS several weeks back

What a magnificent piece of work. All kinds of proto-Hemingway magic. It was comforting to examine a bag of tricks that Papa had not only stolen but resorted to often. That gave me a feeling of liberation.

Any hesitation I had about "Russian novels" (too complex, too many characters with multiple, impossible-to-sort-out names) vanished after the first few pages.

Quite a trick: This book is both timeless and deeply connected to the decades preceding the Russian Revolution. It really felt like the bedrock of something bigger than Turgenev, bigger than any of us. I suspect fiction writers need to read Turgenev in the same sense that
rock-and-rollers need to listen to Robert Johnson. If you want to know what Hemingway was shooting for, read this.