Thursday, February 05, 2009

A quiet life

Russians! In winter! Makes for excellent reading!

"No," she decided at last. "God alone knows what it might have led to; this was not something to trifle with. After all, a quiet life is better than anything else in the world."

Her peace of mind was not deeply disturbed; but she felt sad and once even burst into tears, though she could not have said why — certainly not because she had been outraged. She did not feel that she had been outraged: on the contrary, she had a feeling of guilt. The pressure of various vague emotions — the sense of life passing by, a longing for novelty — had forced her to a certain limit, forced her to look behind her — and there she had seen not even an abyss but only a void . . . chaos without shape.

— from Fathers and Sons, by Ivan Turgenev.

Turgenev, now, and this Turgenev, finally, because it was referenced in Orhan Pamuk's Snow. Thoughts already germinating...


Anonymous said...

Russia in the summertime is good too. The watermelons for a start.

Isabella K said...

Defrosted watermelon?

The novel actually takes place mostly in summer (but Russia and winter do go so well together). There are radishes! and cabbage soup!

Cipriano said...

I recall the Turgenev, mentioned in the Pamuk novel.
Incidentally, I am now reading Don DeLillo's "Libra" [excellent novel] and at one point, Lee Harvey Oswald is seeking to defect to Russia, and one Russian official warns him that the only thing good about Russia is its literature..... it is hilarious.
I wish I could find the actual quote, but of course, I cannot.

Anonymous said...

"Defrosted watermelon?"

My name is a silly take on the Russian word for thawing weather: ottepel, to describe the short and tailored period of relative freedom ushered into Soviet life by Khrushchev in the 1950's.