After lunch I posted

Later I finished reading

The beautifully flowing descriptive writing in this short novel reveals the true calling of this precocious poet. The elegantly simple prose is packed with details of place, people, and events. There is no excessive padding. The introspective nature of the author is reflected in the emotional life of his main protagonist who is introduced in earlier sections, before we meet him through his diary. As usual I will not reveal details of the story, which involves insights into early 19th century Russian culture familiar to those of Lermontov’s class.

As always, the work of the translator was important. Reginald Merton seems to have caught the exquisite essence of the original in a language which I cannot read.

Peter Foster’s informative introduction puts the work and the author in the perspective of the times and the author’s literary contemporaries.

Dodie Masterman’s lithographs delicately suggest mood and atmosphere with use of muted colour and sparing detail. For example, the fifth picture in this gallery demonstrates that the encounter is not going too well.

I hope I am not giving anything away by saying that the design on the .front and back boards has reverberations both for the author and for his protagonists. Ultimately this book is an exploration of predestination.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla, where my main meal was Chicken Jaljala; Jackie’s, Chom Chop Chicken; and Flo’s, Lamb Makhani; we shared pilau rice, sag paneer, and egg paratha. Jackie and I drank Kingfisher, and Flo, J2O. Food and service was as excellent as always.

On our way home Jackie photographed gulls at sunset from Milford on Sea.

Published by derrickjknight

I am an octogenarian enjoying rambling physically and photographing what I see, and rambling in my head as memories are triggered. I also ramble through a lifetime's photographs. In these later years much rambling is done in a car.

50 thoughts on “Predestination

  1. I did this book as a set text for A-Level. I don’t remember too much about it, except for the fact that the language was extremely simple and easy to understand, as was the Russian used by Tolstoy in his two main novels.
    I have grown much more cynical over the years, and I am now of the opinion that the simplicity of the language was down to the fact that both of these two noblemen, Lermontov and Tolstoy, both spoke French as their preferred language, and perhaps struggled to produce Russian as complex as that of, say, Dostoevsky, who was a common working class man, who knew no French whatsoever.

  2. I’m intrigued by the picture with the people standing near the cliff and even more so with the two people sitting on the rock looking out at the ocean at night.

  3. You have showcased a relatively less known author. The illustrator has a style that is altogether different from Keeping and yet he manages to portray the theme. Jackie’s shot is an excellent picture.

  4. “The Hero of Our Time” sounds like a fascinating book for me to read Derrick … I’m searching the Geelong library now, to see if they have it ..

      1. Thank you Derrick for the wonderfully informative links.. I purchased the book through Amazon, Aust,… I’m a member and get Free delivery, … so overall it cost me only $9.95 ..

  5. Interesting to hear about this book! And the artwork in it is lovely…soft, sweet faces, wonderful flow and movement, amazing use of light and dark, etc. 🙂
    OH OH and OH! Jackie’s photo is so beautiful! Love all the details she captured…and I can feel the peace and calm as the sun is setting. 🙂
    (((HUGS))) 🙂

  6. The lithographs are beautifully done, and capture the mood.

    Jackie’s end photo of gulls taking in the sunset invokes a sense of tranquility. I enjoyed it very much.

  7. It’s so wonderful that you have reading in your daily life, Derrick. What a treasure it is to turn off the noise and get immersed into a book. Yay to Jackie – that photo is gorgeous.

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