Not Just Another Grouchy Grammarian

Musings about language, books, grammar, and writing in general

Review: First Love, by Ivan Turgenev — and Recommendation: Brooklyn Book Match

Brooklyn Book Match (a service of the Brooklyn Public Library) recommended this as part of a five book response to a query about Russian Literature. (The other recommendations were Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We [read years ago thanks to the late Dr. Aurelia Scott], Sigizmund Krzhizhanovskii’s Autobiography of a corpse, Alexandr Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin [which I’m currently reading]. And Boris Pasternak’s Dr. Zhivago.)

First Love is a tale of the infatuation of a 16-year-old boy with the 21-year-old princess who moves into the lodge next door. It’s a bit slow-moving, but is definitely entertaining, and the audiobook is only three hours long, which is very short for a Russian novel (at least the ones I am familiar with).

I’d certainly recommend it as a good gateway to Russian literature — it’s characters are easy to track, and don’t seem to have quite as many relational variations on each name as many Russian novels do.

Overall, it‘’s an enjoyable reading (or listening) experience, and I do recommend it as a gateway into what I know is a complex field.

As for the aforementioned Brooklyn Book Match…

You may need a fair amount of patience to use this service. My original request was made on June 30th, 2022, but the response did not come until September 14th, 2002. I am not displeased with the recommendations — there is no way they could have known that I’d read one of them decades ago, or that I’m currently reading a second one (and in a more elegantly translated version than the one they recommend).

Still, if you have the patience and time to wait for a response, I can see Brooklyn Book Match as a welcome and useful service.

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