‘Mother’ by Maxim Gorky

The Mother is a magnum opus work of the well known Russian novelist Maxim Gorky about revolutionary factory workers. The essence of the Mother is quite unnatural and very little world classics are so widely read as the Mother as it deeply influences the views of its readers.

This ground breaking novel was first published by Appleton magazine as a serial between 1906 and1907.

Gorky was personally connected to this novel as it portrays real life events revolving around his distant relative ‘Anna Zolmova’ from whom the character ‘Pelageya Nilovna’ or ‘the Mother’ originated and her son ‘Poitr  Zolmove’, a revolutionary leader from whom the character ‘Pavel Vlassov’ originated and the May day demonstration that took place in Sormova in 1902.  The mother is considered to be the only long work on the   Russian revolutionary movement.

The novel’s base is at Sormova, a small labour town in Russia. It is all about Pavel Vlassov, a young and energetic factory worker and at the same time an iron man who is lively, brave and philosophical revolutionary leader- a member of the socialist democratic labour party and his mother Pelageya Nilovna who has suffered a lot in her life due to her husband- Michael Vlassov. After her husband’s unexpected death she get to know more about her son and one day finds that he is a revolutionist. Being illiterate and without any political interest she is at first afraid and cautious of Pavel’s activities. However, despite of her political ignorance she starts helping him due to her maternal feelings. What will happen to their revolutionary lives and how will Pelageya overcome her fears to become a clear revolutionist? To know the answer read the book.

This novel depicts all the actions, worries and stresses that await a mother when she takes the big step of supporting her son’s way of life even though she is not fully aware of the dangers in it. It is a clear manifestation of the lives of suppressed labourers, their protest against aristocrats and the birth of leaders among workers. The novel also includes other revolutionists like Pavel’s best friend Andrei who loves Pelageya like his own mother, Fyodiar Masin, Nicolai, Wizhowisckh, Rybin, Igor, Yefim, Yekim, Ivan etc. In this novel, like the mother there are many other powerful women characters like Natasha, Sasha and Sophia who are beautiful, brilliant and bold revolutionists. My favourite characters are the brave revolutionists Pavel and Andrei because of their open hearted friendship and sincerity towards their work. I rate this book 10/10 as it gave me a clear view of what had happened in Russia during the revolution. I recommend this book to all those who love to read book that openly narrates about real life-books that touch our heart…

Reviewed by  Nayana V L


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