Troubador The Edge of The Nest

Released: 28/02/2015

ISBN: 9781784620899

eISBN: 9781784629656

Format: Paperback/eBook

Review this Book

The Edge of The Nest

The Solitude of Ivan Turgenev


The Russian novelist Ivan Turgenev lived in turbulent times. This fictional biography, solidly founded on historical and literary research, explores his life and work – from his childhood, dominated by his tyrannical mother, to his last years, in the tender care of Pauline Viardot, the Franco-Spanish diva who was the love of his life. Author Christopher Cruise offers insights into other affairs and flirtations, together with his ambivalent relationship with his illegitimate daughter Paulinette, the result of a half-hour liaison with a servant girl. The reader is transported to many parts of Europe, from the revolutionary streets of St Petersburg to the cultural salons of Paris. The intense generational clash of his era inspired his best-known work, Fathers and Children, while his mother’s cruelty ignited in him a lifelong horror of violence and injustice which found expression in A Sportsman’s Sketches, a book that contributed to Czar Alexander II’s decision to emancipate the serfs. The influence of the radical critic Belinsky transformed Turgenev from a ‘superfluous man’ on the fringes of society, to a probing writer and thinker. His relationships with some of his fellow Russian writers – Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, Herzen and Bakunin – were often stormy, but in France he was admired and esteemed by many members of the French literary and musical worlds, including Flaubert, George Sand and Zola. Considered by his peers as a traitor to his class and by the radical left as a woolly liberal, by the end of his life he had won the respect – and even love – of the majority of young Russians seeking a democratic future for their tormented country.


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.

by ShopThis

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.

by Floyd

  • Buy as a printed
  • £14.99

  • 4 customer reviews
    Currently out of stock
  • Buy as an ebook
  • £4.99
  • Find this ebook at your favourite retailer
Also by Christopher Cruise / Related Books