someday ill be in company of all....

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Book Review:Oblomov by Ivan Goncharov

Title: Oblomov
Author: Ivan Goncharov
Rating: 4 out of 5

Buy Oblomov from
Buy Oblomov from

Ilya Ilyich Oblomov, is a young and guileless nobleman who would prefer to daydream in bed than face the world and its demands. Famously, over a hundred pages pass before Oblomov leaves his bed, and an entire chapter is dedicated to one of his idle dreams of his idyllic past. Eventually, he does leave his bed, and even falls rapturously in love with the beautiful Olga, but the romance is doomed by his laziness. His industrious friend Stoltz urges him to attend to his deteriorating finances, and bails him out when pernicious lords take advantage of him. The name "Oblomov" has become synonymous in Russian with laziness, and Lenin repeatedly used him as an example of the type of people who must be purged from Russian life. However, though Goncharov certainly presents Oblomov as foolish and naive, he also is deeply sympathetic to his simple-hearted and gentle character--a tragicomic Russian brother to Melville's Bartleby.

Oblomov lives a life of lethargy, a life of impassivity in early thirties he is tired like a man in sixties...Living far away from his estate in St.Petersburg in an apartment, he is an epitome of apathy and indifference... Throughout the book we see him busy doing nothing, contemplating on futile things and spends his days changing his positions on his couch, he doesn't even go out of his apartment for a change, he is happy the way he is.....He lives on the income from his estate which he is least bothered..There are serfs who take care of things and while he is away enjoying his free time..Till the end he remains faithful to that trait, very uncharacteristic of a hero ..I wouldn't say he is a heap of negative qualities , but he hasn't any good either..He is not  a person who come in the regular shade of black and white but who flirts through the line of grey irritatingly unmoved...

He owns a large estate with hundreds of peasants yet you can see no nobility in his traits.. His favorite place in the world is his couch to which he stays attached through pages after pages...Even when he is suppose to  move from his current apartment so that this could be renovated, rather looking in for alternative he procrastinates , even when there are issues in his estate that needs his immediate attention , he worries but does nothing to deal with it...This kind of attitude is spread throughout his activities, his only interest seems to be on eating extravagant food and imbibing on all the tasty delicacy ...Its because of Stoltz his only friend  his life seems to move ahead in a right way...The wave seems to take a different turn as a young, beautiful Olga makes her entry in the novel..When I almost thought that the novel is all set to take a turn into a romantic phase wherein  Oblomov starts to act rather just worry and procrastinate , he gets back to his old self reminding us of the saying that old habits die hard..Not even a young spirited, attractive lady could bring any change in him...Through everything Oblomov's obmolovshchina stands tall...Agafya a widow who doesn't ha  mind Oblomov's indiffererance marries him eventually..But Olga married the much likable Stoltz who likes her and loves her intensely doing everything right as a husband...Oblomov's relationship with his orderly Zakhtar is pretty amusing too, through their conversation and occasional arguments their affection for each other is evident..The book also explores about Oblomov's childhood ,growing up age in estate with all luxury surrounded by riches and how social reform brought about a change in them, we get to know the basis of Oblomov's  thought processing through all this, while Stoltz carves his place in the world through his hard work, knowledge and education.. Oblomov thinks about his friend's flourishing business he feels sorry that he has to travel so often all the time for work,while on the other hand Stolz  is unable to digest how Oblomov can spend his days and night on his couch doing nothing...

The book is a beautiful piece of with satire being at its best, be it the mockery upon the aristocracy or sarcasm you have every bit of it with humor and wit that makes you to come to like the book over a lot many..Its not the characters in the novel that makes it special but the narration where the voice of the author is heard throughout.. The plot moves with a steady pace in spite of not having any catalyzing factors and in spite of having uninspiring, dull, indifferent , prosaic protagonist there the story inspired me to read on, not even once I felt like abandoning the book..I usually like the lead character steadily grows up for good, at the least I like them to be creative and intense, but Oblomov is none of it nor he is villainous and that's why you remember him for most ...

1 comment:

  1. This sounds really good. It also sounds very amusing. I must say that I love the idea of the first hundred pages of a book covering a stretch of time that the protagonist cannot even seem to get started.


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