Additional Book Information
Series: NYRB Classics
Publication Date: August 23, 2022
Fathers and Children
by Ivan Turgenev, translated from the Russian by Nicolas Pasternak Slater and Maya Slater
An NYRB Classics Original
The September selection of the NYRB Classics Book Club
Ivan Turgenev’s Fathers and Children is a book full to bursting with life, both comic and tragic. At the heart of this novel about love, politics, and society, strong beliefs and heated disagreements, illness and death, is the generational divide between the young and the old. When the young university graduate Arkady and his mentor, the nihilist Bazarov, leave St. Petersburg to visit their aging parents in the provinces, the conflict that ensues from the generations’ clashing views of the world—the youths’ radicalism and the parents’ liberalism—is both representative of nineteenth-century Russia and recognizably contemporary. At the time of its publication in 1862, the book aroused indignation in critics who felt betrayed by Turgenev’s refusal to let his novel serve a single ideology; it also received a spirited defense by those who saw in his diffuse sympathies a greater service to art and to humanity. In this fresh new translation Nicolas Pasternak Slater and Maya Slater have captured Turgenev’s subtle humor, his pitch-perfect ear for dialogue, his compassion, and, above all, his skill as a storyteller.
Turgenev’s remarkable quality of insight, gives [Fathers and Children] an uncanny position in Russian literature and life. . . . The new English translation... is also highly readable, and can occasion another look at the book, for those who’ve read it before, or a first look for those who haven’t. . . . This rupture between parents and their children is what happens, over and over, with every new generation; there is nothing for it, no remedy, no answer.
—Keith Gessen, The New Yorker
An excellent and highly readable translation by veteran Russianists Nicolas Pasternak Slater and Maya Slater. . . . What makes the novel continually timely is Turgenev’s insight into the psychology of such youthful rebellion. . . . We’ve seen enough of the self-righteousness of children and the stubbornness of parents to make Fathers and Children a book for our moment.
—Adam Kirsch, Airmail
In short, it’s a Russian masterpiece, one written so beautifully and with such economy, that when you finish reading it you feel a little shaken and a little stirred. A vodka martini on the front porch might be in order.
—Gary Shteyngart, All Things Considered
Every class of society, every type of character, every degree of fortune, every phase of manners, passes through his hands; his imagination claims its property equally, in town and country, among rich and poor, among wise people and idiots, dilettanti and peasants, the tragic and the joyous, the probable and the grotesque. He has an eye for all our passions, and a deeply sympathetic sense of the wonderful complexity of our souls.