A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov

By Mikhail Lermontov

A super new translation of a perennial favourite of Russian Literature

The first significant Russian novel, A Hero of Our Time was once either lauded and reviled upon booklet. Its dissipated hero, twenty-five-year-old Pechorin, is a gorgeous and magnetic yet nihilistic younger military officer, bored through existence and detached to his many sexual conquests. Chronicling his unforgettable adventures within the Caucasus related to brigands, smugglers, infantrymen, competitors, and fans, this vintage story of alienation motivated Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, and Chekhov in Lermontov's personal century, and reveals its modern day opposite numbers in Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange, the novels of Chuck Palahniuk, and the movies and performs of Neil LaBute.

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Neither, however, is readable, or perhaps I should say re-readable; their social and political “importance” is the only sort of importance they have. The reader unversed in present-day life in the Soviet Union would require detailed explanation of why Granin’s dreary didactic fable, in which some utterly featureless bureaucrat arrives at an uncomfortable self-awareness, is “important”; whatever significance it has is strictly local, temporary, and nonliterary. Over every form of transient meaningfulness I have favored writing that I trust will prove to have literary permanence.

When he was thirty-two he had been made the rector of a seminary, and then an archimandrite. At that time his life had been so easy and pleasant, and had seemed to stretch so far, far into the future that he could see absolutely no end to it. But his health had failed, and he had nearly lost his eyesight. His doctors had advised him to give up his work and go abroad. ” asked Father Sisoi in the adjoining room. “And then we had tea,” answered his mother. ” exclaimed Katya suddenly. And she burst out laughing.

And now, as a climax, His Reverence saw, as in a delirium, his own mother whom he had not seen for nine years coming toward him in the crowd. She, or an old woman exactly like her, took a palm leaf from his hands, and moved away looking at him all the while with a glad, sweet smile, until she was lost in the crowd. And for some reason the tears began to course down his cheeks. His heart was happy and peaceful, but his eyes were fixed on a distant part of the chapel where the prayers were being read, and where no human being could be distinguished among the shadows.

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