First Love

Book: First Love by Ivan Turgenev (The Great Loves Book 7, Penguin Classics)

Synopsis: Love can be torture. At the end of a dinner part, the remaining guests smoke cigars and tell stories of their first love. For one of them, it will be a dark journey into his past, reawakening unbearable memories of his obsession with the beautiful Zinaida, and the cruelty and betrayal that followed... [from the book flap]

Book Notes: I randomly and impulsively picked this at the Strand Bookstore last July. Admittedly, that was the first time I've ever been to the Strand despite numerous visits to the Big Apple. It was definitely overwhelming and very interesting, I felt like I walked into Dash and Lily's Book of Dares, and was half expecting to find the journal hidden through the shelves. I cant even properly recall what attracted me to this book, but i purchased it and now have finally read it.

I finished it in one sitting while i was painfully waiting for the number one vet to become available to see my precious puppy. It was a long and tiresome wait, and i was thankful i snuck this is my purse as i headed out. For a book that was published in 1860 and written by a Russian, his words and narration were surprisingly modern.

He portrayed his protagonist so realistically. He was 16 years old, barely a man and already reckons himself in love. He was penned so beautifully naive. It is only that kind of youth and innocence that would make you miss things and see the world so differently. I love the way he was contrasted with the other older and more worldly bachelors. Their personalities so brash and jaded, only characteristics of time and maturity would allow to develop.

I also loved how the author provided subtle hints for the reader to pickup on the twist of the story. Thinking back to those hints, i felt it was rather obvious from my perspective, but thinking as the young Vladimir, I can imagine how those strange insinuations could go amiss. Again, i think we should credit the author for creating a wholly innocent and juvenile character.

His protagonist was written so believable. With such a short work of fiction, we watch a naive young man barely out of the school fall in love, experience his first heart break and mature into a man.

Rating: 4.5/5


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