Today, direct from Amsterdam, we have a guest book review from Robby G. over at Shite I Like. He’s got this review just right. It won’t be for everyone, but it’s a great read. And it’s really short for a Russian author.
I can easily say that Mikhail Lermontov’s “A Hero of Our Time” is one of the most enjoyable books I’ve ever read. Maybe it was because I found similarities between me and the protagonist or maybe just because it is written with utter genius and highly in-depth knowledge of human nature.
The novella takes place in 1800’s in the Caucasus region of Eurasia and chronicles the life and adventures of an army officer who knows no social limits.
The main character, Pechorin, is first described through a dear friend intriguingly telling stories about him. Then it goes on to the readers being able to get a third person narrative of the man through a young man who is enticed by the stories and gets the chance to meet and see how the great Pechorin moves, acts, and talks to his so-called dear friend. And then we get an inside look of Pechorin’s characteristics and personalities through his own diary entries.
Talking about Pechorin is difficult, because it isn’t easy to label him as anything, but if I had to put tags on the man, then I’d say: He is a nihilistic sociopath with a strong logical mind who enjoys tormenting people through his indirect words or actions in order to entertain himself.
He has many encounters with women in the novella and he is easily a man who knows what he is doing and who clearly loves a challenge. He has deep knowledge of himself and human nature, and can easily with a word either make someone love, hate, respect, or want to kill him, yet he chooses to act indifferent when he sees no advantage in certain relationships.
Not only does he have a high confidence, but his ego is frighteningly bloated, and his view of friendship and relations with women is disturbing.
What’s so Interesting About Pechorin?
In my honest opinion, he is a man who has been able to completely rid himself of all exterior limitations on his freedom and rebuild himself into a solid man who understands the futilities of morals, principles, rules, social boundaries, friendships, and everything else that humans have created to feel important.
His aims are simply created to fill in the time gaps of boredom in his life before his (like all of ours) eventual death, and he is content on getting lost in his own adventures, whether in war battle or in the love game, to have something to do rather than sulk in ideology or philosophy.
In his spare time, he even enjoys picking on, mocking, or playing on people’s emotions and desires just to get a mere laugh out of the whole thing. I can spend hours talking about why Pechorin is one of the most interesting characters I have ever encountered in any book or film, for that matter, but it would still not be enough, because his mood swings and ever-changing aims of achievement are so frequent that it brings a mirror-like realism to our own modern daily lives.
This book may be difficult for many to read and take in, but I definitely found myself laughing out loud and praising the author for being so down right honest and dot-on with some of the things he has Pechorin do. And the best thing about it is you get an urge to feel a rainbow of emotions for Pechorin at given times in the book, yet you may hate yourself for ever feeling bad for such a crude man.
About The Author: You can visit Robby G. at his blog, Shite I Like, where Robby gives expert dating advice for both men and women, amongst other advice.