In this 1850 Russian novel — and the version I link here is wonderfully translated — we meet the eternally indolent character of Ivan Illyich Oblomov, the uninspired, scared of giving effort and caring, aristocrat who gives up a well-connected job for simply wanting to lie around and do nothing.
A lot more happens, but that’s the basic set up. The book is propped up by exploring the various facets in which the effete laziness of the ruling class is run through various parts of life — economic opportunities, the role and value of hard work, the sacrifices and vulnerabilities required for love and marriage, and various other things.
I was worried about fifteen or twenty pages in that this book was going to be overly repetitive and one-note and it definitely towed the line a few times here and there, but the book is also quite funny. I ended up being a little anxious and ready to finish with about 150 pages left (out of 475 or so) and that was a bummer because of the ways in which I was enjoying it, and I wish there was a little more driving force to the novel, or a little less novel because of it.
In the end though I found the book to be very readable, and felt a good 50-60 years fresher feeling than a lot of other books from the same general time period. In part this has to be because of the implicit, thought latent, critiques of capitalism, but also because of the translation being from the 1950s.