On his travels through the savage mountainous terrain of the Caucasus, the narrator of A Hero of Our Time chances upon the veteran soldier and storyteller Maxim Maximych, who relates to him the dubious exploits of his former comrade Pechorin. Engaging in various acts of duelling, contraband, abduction and seduction, Pechorin, an archetypal Byronic anti-hero, combines cynicism and arrogance with melancholy and sensitivity.
Causing an uproar in Russian literary circles when it was first published in 1840, Lermontov’s brilliant, seminal study of contemporary society and the nihilistic aspect of Romanticism – accompanied here by the unfinished novel, Princess Ligovskaya – remains compelling to this day.
'No one in Russia has ever written such prose, so precise, so beautiful, so exquisite.'– Nikolai Gogol
'Still just a boy, and he wrote A Hero of Our Time!' - Anton Chekhov
'This study of a man – and a society – in crisis was to become one of the most important books of its time… I have read this novel several times,
young and old, always hooked.' - Doris Lessing
'In A Hero of Our Time
, Lermontov managed to create a fictional person whose romantic dash to cynicism, tiger-like suppleness and eagle eye, hot blood and cool head, tenderness and taciturnity, elegance and brutality, delicacy of perception and harsh passion to dominate, ruthlessness and awareness of it, are of lasting appeal to readers of all countries and centuries.' - Vladimir Nabokov
Read an excerpt from A Hero of Our Time