Summary of “Asya”

The story of Asya Turgenev was written in 1857. In it the author tells about the tragic love of a 25-year-old man of the world and a 17-year-old village girl. The story is written in the first person, a certain N. N., who recalls the love story that happened to him during his youth.

Main characters

Asya is the main character of the story, the illegitimate daughter of the landowner and maid Tatiana. The orphan, after the death of her parents, is brought up by her half-brother, Gagin.

NN – the main character, beloved Asya. A dreamy young man experiences love feelings for Ace.

Gagin – brother Asya, a military, an amateur artist. He retires and travels with Asya to travel abroad.

Other characters

A young widow – we learn about it from the memoirs of N. N. .. She wounded NN’s pride, preferring him to the Bavarian lieutenant.

Frau Louise is an elderly widow of the mayor in the city of Z., a kind and sympathetic old

woman who fell in love with Asya.

Chapter 1

A 45-year-old man of the world tells a story that happened 20 years ago. At that time he was “healthy, young, cheerful, money was not being transferred, cares had not yet started.” The first love of the young man was unrequited, the frivolous widow, who encouraged him in every possible way, went to another man, a Bavarian lieutenant. In search of solitude, NN leaves the country and settles in the city of Z., where he reflects on the soulless widow. One evening, sitting on a bench and looking at the river, he hears from the opposite bank, where the city of L. is located, the sounds of a waltz. In the passerby, he learns that these are “students who came to business”. Intrigued, he melts to the other side.

Chapter 2

In the crowd of spectators NN gets acquainted with two Russian, introduced brother and sister. The good-natured Gagin liked NN immediately. “There are such happy faces in the world: to look at them as they please, as if they are heating or stroking you.” Asya’s girl appeared to

be a pretty hero. In short, her portrait can be described as: gracefully folded, “with almost childish cheeks and black eyes.” She did not look like her brother. New friends invited NN to their house with a picturesque view of the Rhine.

At dinner, Asya was a bit “discouraged”, but after a while she herself turned to N. N. The whole evening the girl behaved at ease, “hummed in a low voice, often laughed.” After two hours Asya, referring to fatigue, went to bed.

On the way home, the hero felt that he was happy, and at home, falling asleep, noticed how he had never thought of his cruel lover for the whole day.

Chapter 3

N. N. visited Gagin. He told me that he would like to dedicate his life to painting. In response, NN told the story of his unhappy love. After the conversation, the young people went to Gagina to watch sketches. From the hostess, they found out that Asya had gone to the “ruins”, and went to her search.

Chapter 4

“Ruins” locals called a black quadrangular tower, towering on top of a bare rock. On the pile of rubble, the heroes saw a female figure in which Asya was recognized. “She wants to surprise us,” thought NN, “what’s this for? What kind of childish trick is it?”.

During the walk Asya accidentally learned about the “lady of the heart” Mr. NN.

After the meal Asya went to visit Frau Louise, and the young people were left alone. NN gradually became attached to an honest, truthful Gagin. “There was no way to love him: his heart was attracted to him.”

Four hours later, the friends went to the house of old lady Louise, where NN said goodbye to Asya.

This time the hero returned home with a bad mood. He found one of the notes of the insidious widow, but did not even reveal it. The young man was thinking about Ace, “a capricious girl with a strained laugh…”. And for the first time I doubted that she was Gagina’s sister.

Chapter 5

The next day, watching the girl, he did not see “neither a shadow of coquetry, nor a sign of an intentionally accepted role.” In the evening, after returning home, the young man had not dreamed of anything. However, getting ready for bed, he thought: “What kind of chameleon is this girl! … And yet she is not his sister.”

Chapter 6

Two weeks passed. N. N visited the Gagins every day and always recognized Asya from a new angle. She knew French and German, had a good upbringing, but it was obvious, “that this wild thing was recently vaccinated.” One day, coming to the gate, NN heard voices from the arbor – Asya confessed her love to Gagin. NN did not dare to approach them and hurried home. On the way, he wondered why they had deceived him for so long.

Chapter 7

After a sleepless night, N. N. went to the mountains to remain alone with his thoughts. He was absent for three days, and after returning, he finds a message from Hagin, in which it is written that he was very upset because NN did not call him with him to the mountains.

Chapter 8

The next day in the house of the Gagins our hero told us about his adventures, however, the conversation did not stick. Asya did not participate in the conversation, but only “entered the room and ran away again.” Seeing the guest, Gagin told him the story of his family.

He lost his mother early. His father was engaged in his upbringing, until the boy was 12 years old. Later, his father’s brother persuaded him to take his nephew with him to St. Petersburg, where Gagin entered the Junker school, then was transferred to the Guards regiment. The first time he saw Asya eight years later at his father’s house. She was agile and timid. Four years later, in his next visit to his home, Gagin learned from the servant of Yakov that Asya was the daughter of his parent and maid Tatiana. After the death of his father, he took her to be raised in St. Petersburg.

Asya was shy of her origin and even in the first days she was afraid of Gagin, but then, seeing that he accepted and fell in love with him, he became attached to him. Since Gagin could not live with his sister, he gave it to the boarding house, in which she studied until the age of 17. Then Gagin resigned and left his native country with his sister.

After the conversation, the young people returned to LN N. realized that in the girl he likes not only her unbridled disposition, but also her soul.

Chapters 9-10

N. N. goes with Asya for a walk. The girl quotes lines from “Eugene Onegin” and says that she would like to be Tatyana. With her usual openness, she asks NN what he likes about women, and then informs him if they were birds, they would be drowned in the blue of the sky. NN notes that there are feelings that inspire and can tear from the ground, that’s just “it seems, he still did not fly.”
They return home. Until the evening friends have fun. During the waltz with Asya, NN for the first time captures the features of femininity in her appearance. On the way back, the young man is overcome by feelings of incomprehensible anxiety and happiness at the same time.

Chapters 11-12

The next day young N. N. found Gagin, stained with paints, in front of the canvas. In the gusts of inspiration he was actively waving his hand. Asya’s mood was changeable that day, she was sad and silent, then she talked to N. with ease and laughed merrily. She was worried about the thought that the young man might think she was frivolous, but she insisted that she was always frank with him. Returning home, the young man thought: “Does she love me?”.

Chapter 13

This question worried the man and the next morning. He went to the city of L., stayed in the house of the Gaginy all day. Asya appeared for a moment, “pale, thin, with a forehead tied,” and warned that she was unwell, and then went to her room.

The next day, N. N. walked half-consciously around the city, thoughts of the girl did not leave him. Suddenly he was called by the boy and handed a letter from Asya, in which the girl appointed him to meet at the stone chapel on the way to the ruins.

Chapter 14

Returning home, the young man read the note several times. Suddenly the door opened and Gagin entered, from the conversation with which NN learned that Asya was in love with him. She confessed to her brother last night. The girl asked if he told NN his story, was afraid that after that he would despise her. The girl tearfully asked them to leave together from this city. Gagin decided before his departure to talk with NN He was sure that our hero would not marry his sister. He, in turn, admitted – he likes Asya, and asked him to give him time to think things over. After Gagin’s departure, the man thought about how to proceed. “Marry a seventeen-year-old girl, with her temper, how it can be!” he thought.

Chapter 15

NN at the appointed time went to a meeting. However, the boy who met him on the opposite shore, reported that “Fraulein Annette” changed the place of the meeting and waits for him in the house of Frau Louise.
Feelings fought in him, happiness seemed to be very close, but he needed to keep his brother’s word. “I can not marry her,” he decided, at last, “she will not know that I have fallen in love with her.”
The old woman opened the door and led him up the steep staircase. On the third floor, she pointed to the small door.

Chapter 16

The girl was sitting on a chair near the window. She was trembling and was afraid to look at the guest. In the timid movements of the girl there was something touching. The determination to act according to the plan chosen by NN disappeared. He gently called her by his name, Asya looked up uncertainly. “Oh, the look of the woman who fell in love, who will describe you?” They prayed, these eyes, they trusted, questioned, gave themselves up… “. The man could not restrain his feelings, bent down and leaned against her hand. “- Your… she whispered a little audibly.” However, the thought of the promise given to Gagin sobered the young man. He confessed to Ace that her brother knows everything, “everything is lost,” and they should part. The girl fell to her knees and sobbed, but suddenly “jumped up, with a flash of lightning rushed to the door and disappeared…”

Chapters 17-18

The man wandered around the city for a long time. “Did I really want such a denouement? Is it possible for me to part with her? How can I lose her? Madman! Madman!” he repeated. NN again went to the house where Asya lived. He was met by Gagin and said that she had not yet returned from Frau Louise. The young people went to look for her. To find faster, they decided to split up.

Chapter 19

NN was looking for her everywhere: he walked all the streets in the city, stood by the window of Frau Louise, returned to the bank of the Rhine. He shouted her by name, confessed that he loved and would never part with her. Asya was nowhere to be seen. Then he went to Gagina to find out if he had found it.

Chapter 20

In Asi’s room, he saw the light. Her brother assured her that she was back, and everything is in order. Young people said goodbye. Coming out, NN wanted to knock on her window, but decided to postpone until tomorrow what he wanted to say. He wanted to make her an offer.

He did not remember coming home. He carried “some wide, strong wings.” “Tomorrow I will be happy!” he thought.

Chapters 21-22

The next day he was met by a maid and said that the Gagins had left. She handed him a letter in which “from Asya there was not a line.” Gagin wrote to him and asked not to be offended for their sudden departure. “There are prejudices that I respect, I understand that you can not marry Ace,” he wrote.

NN learned from the hostess that they had boarded the ship at six in the morning, and went to the office where the Gagins took tickets to Cologne. One thought warmed the heart of NN, it was necessary to find them. Home he walked past the house of Frau Louise. Suddenly, the old woman called him and handed him a note from Asya. “Farewell, we will not see each other again, I’m not leaving pride, I can not do it differently.” Yesterday, when I cried before you, if you only said one word to me, I would only say one word-you did not say it. better… Farewell forever! “.

One word… With tears in his eyes, he repeated it the day before, but she could not say!

The same day he sailed to Cologne, where he learned that they had left for London. NN went after them, but the search in London was in vain. He did not see them any more, did not see Asya.

Finishing his story, NN admitted that he was young, and subsequently he had women, but the feeling awakened in him by Asya, “that burning, gentle, deep feeling,” was no longer repeated.


A short retelling of “Asya” reveals in detail the theme of love, which is pure, and prejudices are alien to it. Asya opened her feelings to N. N.. From the happiness of the protagonist separated only one, and not pronounced by him the word. Asya’s early departure did not give him a second chance to confess her in love.

The author calls on the reader to be happy right now. “Happiness does not have tomorrow, it does not have yesterday, it does not remember the past, does not think about the future, it has the present – and it’s not a day, but a moment.”

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Summary of “Asya”