A Hero of Our Time (Paperback)
Though this novel consists of such adventures as kidnappings, duels, and love affairs, the story’s subject is not these events but the personality of its anti-hero, Grigory Pechorin. Lermontov presents the reader with multiple perspectives of this Pechorin and invites the reader to analyze this charismatic figure. At times callous and cynical, at other times lovesick and lonely, Pechorin is a character who becomes more intriguing and nuanced with each read. In one chapter a reader will find him cruel and manipulative in his hedonistic motivations, and in another chapter will be moved with sympathy for the enigmatic Pechorin when his, usually penetrative, insight fails him and he wonders why every fulfilled desire leaves him unsatisfied. In his only novel, Mikhail Lermontov mixes the adventurous romance with the psychological novel.— From Austin
A brilliant new translation of a perennial favorite of Russian literature
The first major Russian novel, A Hero of Our Time was both lauded and reviled upon publication. Its dissipated hero, twenty-five-year-old Pechorin, is a beautiful and magnetic but nihilistic young army officer, bored by life and indifferent to his many sexual conquests. Chronicling his unforgettable adventures in the Caucasus involving brigands, smugglers, soldiers, rivals, and lovers, this classic tale of alienation influenced Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, and Chekhov in Lermontov's own century, and finds its modern-day counterparts in Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange, the novels of Chuck Palahniuk, and the films and plays of Neil LaBute.
About the Author
Mikhail Lermontov (1814-1841) made several journeys to the Caucasus before entering St, Petersburg Guards’ school, where he began writing poetry and autobiographical dramas in prose. Influenced by Byron, he is renowned as Russia’s one true Romantic poet. Lermontov greatly influenced Dostoyevsky and Blok; while Tolstoy and Chekhov regarded his prose as a model.
Natasha Randall (translator/introducer) has published translations of Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We (shortlisted for the 2008 Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize) and Osip Mandelstam’s poetry as well as the work of contemporary writers Arkady Dragomoshchenko, Alexander Skidan, and Olga Zondberg. A frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times, she lives in London.
Neil LaBute (foreword) is a film director, screenwriter and playwright. He is best known for his play and film In the Company of Men and his films Possession, The Shape of Things, and The Wicker Man.
"Natasha Randall's English, in her new translation, has exactly the right degree of loose velocity. . . . (Nabokov's version, the best-known older translation, is a bit more demure than Randall's, less savage.)" —James Wood, London Review of Books
"[A] smart, spirited new translation." —The Boston Globe
"One of the most vivid and persuasive portraits of the male ego ever put down on paper." —Neil LaBute, from the Foreword