Ivan Turgenev’s “First Love”

The name Ivan Turgenev might not be as recognizable as his Russian counterparts, Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, but make no mistake about it, he was just as great a writer as those two masters. His novels are not nearly as large as Tolstoy’s and Dostoevsky’s, but the universal nature…worldliness…of his works are much more in touch with the everyday experiences and feelings that are all common among us human beings. In short, he is not so Russian and it should come as no surprise that his novels, during his lifetime, were more popular in Europe than any Russian writer.

“First Love” is a perfect example of the universal flavor mentioned above. It is less than a hundred pages, and yet within those pages I recollected, and recalled, so many of the same memories that the main character in the book experienced as a sixteen year old boy. Either from afar, or up close and personal, most of us have all experienced and never forgotten our first love … Regardless of how many flaws or how perfect he/ she might have been and Turgenev brings this feeling home with astonishing clarity and brilliance. Simply amazing!

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