5 1/2 x 8 1/2
The Stepson is the tale of a young man's infatuation with his stepmother, a well-placed bourgeoise with painterly ambitions; of that young man's replication of his father's life (low-class affair, illegitimate son, marriage); and of his own successive marriages and affairs, none of which work. At a much deeper level, it is a study of what Russians call oblomovschina, the paralysis of the will. The Stepson is a nullity with ambitions as long as he needn't do anything to advance them. He doesn't act, he undergoes. It is the intricate, torturously rationalized play of his passivity before fate that makes this one of Bove's most fascinating novels, a sort of tragic bedroom farce.