This review is about 'First Love'. It follows the reading of three other Turgenev novels - from which you can guess I like this author a lot. In the three earlier novels ('Fathers and Sons', 'Spring Torrents' and 'Virgin Soil') there is one constant theme - men rejecting women - not because they see the women as inadequate, but because they see themselves as unworthy. In this novel it is the woman who does the rejecting - and the person she rejects is herself - instead of withdrawal we now face self-sacrifice. But why did she see herself as so inadequate when she lined up the group of suitors any one of whom would have accepted her much to the envy of all the others? And her self-sacrifice - why is it to the person to whom it is made? Without any regard to the effects on others - they too are all sacrificed.
If you enjoy the company of women as I do, perhaps you will be repelled by lines such as 'fear the love of women; fear that bliss, that poison....' On the other hand this novel - despite it troubled ending - is wonderfully readable and it gave me a lot to reflect on.