One of the most controversial Russian novels ever written, Fathers and Sons dramatizes the volcanic social conflicts that divided Russia just before the revolution, pitting peasants against masters, traditionalists against intellectuals, and fathers against sons. It is also a timeless depiction of the ongoing clash between generations.
When a young graduate returns home, he is accompanied—much to his father's and uncle's discomfort—by a strange friend who does not acknowledge any authority and does not accept any principle on faith. Bazarov is a nihilist, representing the new class of young radical intelligentsia that would come to overthrow the Russian aristocracy and its values. Uncouth and forthright in his opinions, Turgenev’s hero is nonetheless susceptible to love and, by that fact, doomed to unhappiness.
“Vividly portrays the unsettled state of Russian peasantry before the revolution.” (Masterpieces of World Literature)
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