Another entertaining book by Mr Turgenev.The author seems optimistic than his peers even though in Torrents love and betrayal compete disastrously, he still manages at the end to resolve his hero and his heroine with some happiness An artful story teller Very recommendable. I enjoyed this for its character portrayal much than for the plot line In the second half of the story, there is a piquant twist that does add some intrigue The characters are amusing and the swipes at different cultural tendencies are fun The main character is telling the story He is Russian, fifty two years old and looking back thirty years when he had fallen in love with an Italian woman in Frankfurt The year was 1840 Except, he then became head over heels infatuated with a Russian woman The question is who will he marry, if any The writing is descriptive A sky, moonless, but with sparkling yellow, white, red and blue stars Have you never seen such a sky Think carefully, of course you have Turgenev captures the feel of infatuation wonderfully One character is phlegmatic He is married to a woman who is flirtatious, exuberant and boundlessly free They make a bet.In that the Russian is looking back and remembering and telling us what happened, large portions are told This is a drawback.There is humor, of the satirical sort There are snide remarks about German food and regimental behavior French language and gastronomy are on the other hand characterized as being sophisticated Italians are emotional, frivolous One chuckles at the cultural innuendoes.The audiobook is very well narrated by Neville Jason He does dramatize, which I don t usually like Yet he so well captures the characters personalities that listening is like going to ta theater performance It s just plain fun This book was surprisingly good I must thank my Goodreads friend Kelly for finding this author I will definitely be reading by him If I understood well, Turgenev planned for Spring Torrents to be a short story, but at some point he changed his mind and turned it into a novel I can t complain, because I think this books makes for a fine novel, even if a bit unorthodox one One could argue that it is unbalanced One could even make good points for it The arrival of femme fatale on the scene feels a bit too sudden deux in machina , especially since it happens so late in story and there is no preparation for it But what a femme fatale Maria Nikolaevna is Her arrival not only completely turns the story around, it also happens very suddenly Structurally, this could be the novel s flawand yet I m not sure it wasn t indeed intended to come off as a shock The way I see it, this is where the novel turns from romantic realism and regular realism towards naturalism I ll explain what I mean a bit later on In some ways similar to First Love and Asya, this is a novel that tells the story of a young man falling in love for the first time You know, I was convinced that I already wrote a review for this one perhaps because I referenced it in my review of First Love , but looks like I forgot to review this one Better late than never, right Like many of Turgenev s works, Torrents of Spring is a framed narrative, told by an older character who remembers and retells his youthful experiences The novel has an introductory part, in which our protagonist finds a cross that reminds him of the love of his life, transporting him into the past where our story starts, the story of Dmitri Pavlovich Sanin, a young Russian man travelling Europe Almost by accident, Sanin saves a life of an Italian boy who happens to be the brother of a beautiful Gemma Accepting the invitation of this Italian family who made Germany their home, Sanin misses his train and find himself delaying the continuation of his trip Sanin is fascinated by this family and importantly bewitched by the young and innocent Gemma Unfortunately, Gemma is engaged to a rather boring German guy whom Gemma s mothers sees as a great marriage prospect This is a novel with a number of twists and turns, a bit eventful than other similar works of Turgenev in the sense there are as I see it two plots First we follow the turbulent falling in love of young and deeply almost annoyingly moral Russian man into a beautiful and pure but engaged young Italian lady Will they manage to fight for their love Will they admit their feelings to others and themselves Will Sanin manage to convince his sweetheart s mother that he is a potentially good son in law This part of the novel reminded me not only of Asya First Love but also of The Hero of Our Time, and other similar Russian classics You know, the duels, the courting, the dramatic inner life of characters falling in love The style of writing seems typical for both typical Russian realism and its forerunner Romantic Realism, meaning we get a good insight into psychological development of characters Moreover, we get objective reflections on the human nature, the differences between different levels of society, study of cultural difference and so on.Once Maria Nikolaevna enters the story, the tone of the novel changes immensely Instantly, it becomes quite dark and sinister It is a journey into naturalism Our Maria Nikolaevna has a quick wit, but that s about it One could hardly call her an intellectual She is a creature of passion and instinct, a true naturalistic heroine At one point, the writer compares Marias s eyes in triumph with the stupid glance of bird of pray upon catching its victim The animal metaphor is no accident Sanin feels attracted to Maria despite the fact that he doesn t like her, that she bores him Why does Sanin feel so attracted to her They are about the same age, but Maria is infinitely experienced Is it just Sanin s bad luck that he is handsome enough to catch the interest of the ruthless femme fatale Perhaps there are a number of factors that cause Sanin to be attracted to Maria Not everyone might notice it, but in the heat of his love and his marriage proposal to Gemma, Sanin agrees to sell not only his land, but his serfs as well To sell people It seems insane now, but it was the practice of the times Turgenev had very strong views against it, and he made it a part of this story, even in a small way While I was reading this one, I caught myself asking so many questions Was Sanin second guessing his choice of selling his land and serfs Was he wondering whether cultural difference will be too much Was he attracted to Maria because she was ethnically Russian like himself, a link to his home in a foreign and suddenly confusing land Was it because he was so inexperienced or was it just human weakness Was Turgenev trying to point out how true love always scares us and how it is easy to give into bodily temptation It was painful to watch Maria cast her net around Sanin Still, it was a very interesting part of the novel, perhaps because of all the tension I absolutely loved the portrayal of Maria Despite the fact she seems and sort of is quite evil, a calculating seductress, she feels very real at the same time It is not always easy to write the villains, quite often they turn into caricature Maria is nothing of the sort, despite the fact she appears abruptly and doesn t stay for long, she is such a colourful and well rounded character It is easy to see why her appeal, as Maria seems so full of life To conclude, this an unusual novel, that at times feels like two novels joined into one, but it is no less successful for it In my view, Spring Torrents is an absolute masterpiece. I have never read a book so swiftly and with such interest I could almost laugh at how true this story felt to me there could not be characters any real or suited to my taste if I had written a novel myself The plot is engaging and moves at a rapid pace, there is never a dull moment The prose is simple and astoundingly authentic, but there is also a great deal of romanticism, which makes for a seamless combination This is by far my favorite piece of writing and it is a true masterpiece that reads almost as if it were a symphony or an opera itself While I am sad to have finished it so quickly I now raise my glass to the beautiful and lofty and toast to this mesmerizing composition The Torrents of Spring by Ivan Turganev was written in 1870 but thought to be a highly autobiographical rendition of events that occurred in his life in 1840 it is considered to be one of his greatest novels It is the first for me The hero of this book is named Dmitri Savin On a trip to Frankfurt Germany, he meets and falls in love with a beautiful young lady, Gemma He proposes and when questioned by her mother about finances, promises to sell his estate in Petersburg to raise the proper funds A friend s wife is purported to show an interest, so he meets with her to discuss the sale view spoiler But she has other things in mind hide spoiler Returning To Russia From A Tour In Italy, Twenty Three Year Old Dimitry Sanin Breaks His Journey In Frankfurt, Where He Encounters The Beautiful Gemma Roselli, Who Works In Her Parents Patisserie, And Falls Deeply And Deliriously In Love For The First Time Convinced That Nothing Can Come In The Way Of Everlasting Happiness With His Fiancee, Dimitry Impetuously Decides To Begin A New Life And Sell His Russian Estates But When He Meets The Potential Buyer, The Intriguing Madame Polozov, His Youthful Vulnerability Makes Him Prey For A Darker, Destructive Infatuation A Novel Of Haunting Beauty, Spring Torrents Is A Fascinating, Partly Autobiographical Account Of One Of Turgenev S Favourite Themes A Man S Inability To Love Without Losing His Innocence And Becoming Enslaved To Obsessive Passions 3.5 starsIt s a while since I read any Turgenev and this is regarded as one of Turgenev s better novels, if not his best known Like Proust s madeleine, here a garnet cross triggers recollection in Sanin Sanin is 52 and the cross takes him back thirty years, to his youth and first love Sanin was travelling and visited Frankfurt passing a shop he is called in to assist a boy in distress He successfully provides aid and is very taken with the boy s elder sister Gemma The family take him out as thanks and he meets Gemma s very uptight fianc Herr Kluber Whilst they are out an army officer insults Gemma Kluber takes the party away, but Sanin stays behind and challenges the officer and they end up fighting a duel The upshot is Gemma breaks with Kluber and becomes engaged to Sanin Sanin impulsively decides to sell his estate peasants and all to marry Gemma All this has taken just a few days Sanin meets an old school friend Polozov who says his wife, who is rich may buy his estate Sanin travels to Wiesbaden where she is staying to negotiate a sale and finds another beautiful and charming woman, Maria Unknown to Sanin husband and wife have a wager that she can seduce him As you can see the plot is fairly thin and the themes involved are innocence, passion, obsession and the power of memory not to mention the stupidity of men According to Turgenev this is an autobiographical novel, very much true to life It is certainly well written and easy to read It is true that Turgenev had a lifelong affair obsession with the opera singer Pauline Viardot he travelled Europe to be near her and never married It was certainly a brave novel to write Sanin is not a sympathetic character, but a stupid, self centred and careless young man with little thought for the feelings of others There is a remarkable passage towards the end of the novel when Maria Polozov asks Sanin what he is going to do I am going where you will be, and will be with you till you drive me away, he answered with despair and pressed close to him the hands of his sovereign She freed her hands, laid them on his head, and clutched at his hair with her fingers She slowly turned over and twisted the unresisting hair, drew herself up, her lips curled with triumph, while her eyes, wide and clear, almost white, expressed nothing but the ruthlessness and glutted joy of conquest The hawk, as it clutches a captured bird, has eyes like that Tell me this is not the virgin whore dichotomy all over again We have nineteen year old Gemma who is innocent and vulnerable and we have Maria who is a cold hearted seductress oh dear it appears we do There are some very good minor characters, especially Pantaleone and Emilio and the whole is well constructed It was written when Turgenev was in his 50s and shows a certain cynicism about first love and illustrates the stupidity of youth The female characters though well drawn are somewhat predictable and one dimensional, although they have a little nuance than some of Dickens s heroines It s an easy introduction to Turgenev because of its brevity and ease of reading. That s it, Turgenev is officially my favourite Russian And this novelette was written to remind us how love can drive us astray, shift our personality and completely alter our life course be it for better or for worse Powerful prose and colourful images of the romantic era, also a female character Maria that you will love to hate I couldn t help but notice some subtle elements of class collision the love between the young Russian aristocrat and the beautiful but poor Italian girl and the not so subtle comments on serfdom. After reading this wonderful piece of classic work, I came up with two wishes First, I wished I could read the book in its original language Second, I wish I had read Turgenev s works before The first one would only remain that a wish The English translation of the eBook I read is wonderful, but I after reading it and pondering the ending I wondered how it must all be in Russian The narrative flows so simply and yet so intimately of its protagonist, Sanin, that I craved for what could have been lost in translation But I know no Russian at all, and so I must settle for what I could have The second wish, however, is redeemable This is my first Turgenev and it wouldn t be the last The Torrents of Spring begins with a passage from an Old Ballad that portends a tale that would end sadly, if not tragically Still, in spite of the foreshadowing, I didn t expect it to end as it did Told as a recollection, the narrative tells the story of Sanin who, on his way home from his travels, meets Gemma whom he falls in love with The love comes at a price, not only to him but to Gemma as well, but they get through the hardships and become engaged In the process of proving himself true, however, Sanin fails and abandons Gemma just a few weeks after pledging his love for her He willingly gives up all that love and promise of a happy life for another woman who has no love for him at all and who discards him just as quickly and easily as he did Gemma And what follows next is many years of loneliness and solitude, for what could have been and will never be For a moment of weakness he is made to pay thirty years of shame and regret The ending is quite touching, moving I just felt sad, and angry, for Sanin when he discovers what ultimately happens to Gemma.
was a novelist, poet, and dramatist, and now ranks as one of the towering figures of Russian literature His major works include the short story collection A Sportsman s Sketches 1852 and the novels Rudin 1856 , Home of the Gentry 1859 , On the Eve 1860 , and Fathers and Sons 1862 These works offer realistic, affectionate portrayals of the Russian peasantry and penetrating studies of the Russian intelligentsia who were attempting to move the country into a new age His masterpiece, Fathers and Sons, is considered one of the greatest novels of the nineteenth century Turgenev was a contemporary with
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- Ivan Turgenev
- 02 October 2019 Ivan Turgenev