First Love, by Ivan Turgenev, is a Russian Lit Classic
First Love by Ivan Turgenev is the 10th Russian/behind the Iron Curtain novel I have enjoyed since December.
My quest began by reading War and Peace in 17 days. TBH, I need to go back and start reading it once more. (War and Peace is a fascinating tale, too.)
As fate would have it, the recommendation to read the book came from a former Russian ballerina whom I met at the dinner counter while staying at The New Yorker Hotel in Manhattan.
A great final quote from First Love is this one, a summary about living, and an expansion on the American phrase, “Youth is wasted on the wrong kind.”
“Oh, youth! Youth!
You go your way heedless, uncaring – as if you owned all the treasures of the world; even grief elates you. Even sorrow wits well upon your brow.
…Perhaps the whole secret of your enchantment lies not, indeed, in your power to do whatever you may will, but in your power to do think that their is nothing you will not do; it is this that you scatter to the winds – gifts which you could never have used to any other purpose.
Each of us feels most deeply convinced that he has been too prodigal of his gifts – that he has a right to cry “Oh, what could I have done, if only I had not wasted my time.”
Take your time reading this short book.
This is not a very long book, possible to read in one day.
But I recommend taking the time to have a think about what Turgenev wrote.
The richness of his writing leaves one with so much to think about and absorb.
Not my first Turgenev book
This is not my first Turgenev book.
I read Fathers and Sons not too long ago. A young, former Russian ballerina and now model, recommended this book to me. We were sitting at the bar for dinner in Eighth Avenue’s Tick Tock restaurant in New York City, Sept. 23, 2019.
Surprising a young Russian ballerina with my knowledge of her literary culture.
I surprised Anastasia, who speaks little English when I told her how many Russian novels I’d read in the past 10 months.
One novel read for each of the 10 months.
My reading list impressed her.
Was an interesting conversation because we had to use Google Translate to talk.
But she emphasized First Love is simply a beautiful book that I must read. I ordered it from Amazon between translations.
Anastasia was so right. I hope you enjoy it, too,