Why Goncharov’s novel is called “Cliff” is not clear from the very beginning, so it is necessary to get acquainted with at least a brief summary of this work.
At the beginning of the novel “Obryv” we see how two friends Boris Pavlovich Raisky and Ivan Ivanovich Ayanov are going to visit the Petersburg house of the Pakhotins to spend the evening playing cards. In addition to playing cards with old maidens Anna Vasilievna and Nadezhda Vasilievna, Paradise is still interested in Sofia Belovidova, who lives with her aunts. He hopes that he will be able to fill this cold woman with passion. He has many hobbies – he draws, and music, and writes a little. He came to Petersburg trying to find his vocation and sees him in art, in the ability to hit someone’s
On vacation, Boris Pavlovich goes to his estate – Malinovka. The estate is very beautiful, everything in it is wonderful, except for a cliff on the edge of the garden. All the inhabitants of the house are afraid to go there, since terrible stories tell of him that at the bottom of the cliff the city tailor killed his wife for betrayal, he himself was killed and buried there and then. Cousin grandmother of Paradise Tatiana Markovna is very glad to the arrival of her grandson. She wants to boast of an economy, to teach the grandson to rural life and to acquaint and bring them closer to the inhabitants of the estate – Neil Andreevich, the Molochnikov family and the Krycka coquette. All this is not interesting to Paradise. His soul is torn back to St. Petersburg. At St. Petersburg University, he approaches Leontii Kozlov, the poor and timid son of a deacon, but after graduation he leaves to work as a teacher in the provinces. He can not decide everything what to do. He again begins to be interested in Sophia, writes about her novel, wants to draw a portrait. On one of the evenings at the Pakhotins’ house, he meets Count Milary, but his desire still remains to inflame Sophia’s heart.
The following summer Tatiana Markovna again called her grandson to Malinovka, and also from Leonty Kozlov, who was teaching near the estate. By that time, Raisky was already tired of spending time with Sophia, besides, all whom he showed the portrait of Sophia did not appreciate him.
Upon arriving at the estate, Paradise meets a graceful young girl feeding poultry. After the cold Petersburg, this natural beauty captivates Boris Pavlovich. Girl Marfenka, so fond of Paradise, was a servant in the house of my grandmother, and he is ready to give her the estate. Paradise meets Kozlov, who by that time married their common acquaintance – Ulyonka. Returning to the estate from Kozlov, Paradise sees the house full of guests – all gathered to look at the mature master. Polina Karpovna tries to seduce him, but this lady is not interested in Paradise. He tries to accustom Marfenk to art – tells her about literature, painting.
One day he meets with Mark Volokhov, an official who is under police surveillance. Grandmother told him about this funny man a lot of horrors. Mark is also trying to awaken people’s feelings, but this does not apply to a specific woman, like Raysky, but to abstract people – he wants to enthrall them with reading forbidden books. At this time the cousin of Paradise Faith, mysterious and mysterious, comes to the estate, causing a great interest of the young man. He begins to spy on the girl, causing discontent with the latter.
After Marfenka, a certain Vikentyev begins to take care of him, which disturbs Raisky. In addition, during a solemn dinner in Malinovka a scandal broke out, and Raysky decides to return to St. Petersburg. Nobody believes in his speedy departure – Vera leaves for her friend, and Boris Pavlovich gets acquainted with Ivan Ivanovich Tushin, who wants to woo to Vera, but does not know how to approach this. Paradise alarmed his grandmother with the thought that Vera was in love, and she arranged a family reading of the edifying book about love. This reading is not interesting to Vera, and Marfenka and Vikentiev after reading are explained in love to each other.
Belief is also interested in Mark Volokhov. She goes to see him on a break, dreaming of marrying him. In a letter from St. Petersburg, Ayanov informs Sophia’s novel with Count Milary and that the light found this fact compromising for Sophia. However, this does not bother Raisky anymore – his thoughts are occupied by Vera. On the eve of the betrothal of Marfenka, Vera goes to the break for a date. He is waiting at the very edge, understanding where his cousin has gone. Faith opens the soul to Paradise, and then to Tushin, but then falls ill with fever. She is courted by Tatiana Markovna, supports her and makes a terrible confession that she too had a long-standing sin and that the one who came to her in the greenhouse with Tit Nikonovich, the young man who was wedded to her, swore an oath from her that she would never marry.