The best fictional recreation of a novelist and his era in a long time. Un-puttable down and just superb and a top novel of the year for me!
by Liviu C. Suciu
As good as any novel; as well-researched as any biography. The book delves into Turgenev's personal and literary history in a way that explains much of his writing--not that it needs explaining but it is fascinating to see what's happening behind the scenes of the writing. Both widely touted and disdained during his lifetime, Turgenev never pleased everyone. True to Russian "character" he was lauded as a national treasure by the same people who criticized and questioned his background in the nobility. The author has also done an expert job of showing the influences of Turgenev's contemporaries, including Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and many names that are usually given short shrift in literary history but deserve so much more. Turgenev's dedication to his opera singer is explored from many angles yet Cruise never judges the lifelong affair. A brilliant portrayal of the era and its inhabitants, from the inhabitants of Sketches to the emotionality of Rudin.
Not quite a novel, but a novelistic retelling of Turgenev's life that makes great use of primary sources. The author has a rare familiarity with all aspects of the story: literature, music, and politics not only in Russia but also in France, Germany and England. Turgenev's Russian contemporaries are very well drawn, as are the Viardot family. A fascinating portrait of a man with many weaknesses that he himself recognized, but also with some core literary principles that he never compromised.
by Jean Alexander
Wonderful book. A must read.