51 Following


I'm a grad student, an avid reader, a huge nerd, fervent roleplayer, wife, cat lover, tea snob, and obsessive keeper of lists.
Rudin - Ivan Turgenev, Constance Garnett I read this in an edition with another novella, A King Lear of the Steppes. Of the two, I preferred the latter. Although I've been finding a certain fondness for Russian literature over the last couple of years, Rudin impressed me not at all. It was a comedy of manners without the manners, in which nothing much happened, nobody was much affected, consequences pretty much invisible, and at the end, a strange reversal in which the one character who disliked Rudin intensely from the beginning suddenly decides that all the dithering and inability to commit to anything actually proves that Rudin is the one honest man in all the world who can't compromise.

Except, as far as we can tell, he has no principles he refuses to compromise. He just consistently self-sabotages, and I have no idea where this sudden avowal of eternal friendship and admiration comes from!

A King Lear of the Steppes was more enjoyable, in that shit actually happened. However, the casual anti-Semitism was off-putting, and although I certainly didn't want it to be a blow-by-blow retelling of King Lear, changing the story so that neither of the daughters had any will of their own and were only under the power of one petty man...didn't sit right. But as a story of pettiness and greed, it stood up much better than Rudin.