First Love by Ivan Turgenev

Oct 24, 2019 by

First Love by Ivan Turgenev. I enjoyed this book. First Love is my 10th Russian/behind the Iron Curtain novel to read since December, beginning with War and Peace.

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 not have done, if only I had not wasted my time.”

This is not a very long book. It may be read in one day, but you’ll not want to speed through its pages. There’s too much there you’ll want to think about and absorb.

This is not my first Turgenev book, I read Fathers and Sons not too long ago. This one, however, was recommended to me strongly by a young former Russian ballerina whom I met while sitting at the bar for dinner at the Eighth Avenue Tick Tock restaurant in New York City, Sept. 23, 2019.


Anastasia, the former Russian ballerina who insisted I read Turgenev’s novel First Love, a beautiful story about life in mid nineteenth century Russia.

Anastasia, who could speak very little English, was impressed with how many Russian novels I’ve read in the past 10 months. Ten of them now, one for each month. When she saw my reading list she was highly impressed but quickly typed out in Google translate that First Love is simply a beautiful book that I must read. I ordered it from Amazon between translations in our conversation.

Anastasia was so right, I hope you enjoy it, too,

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