Friday, April 13, 2007

Lunchtime read: Selected Stories

The final tale in the Chekhov short story collection proves that this really is a medium that has the ability to make you think. Seen as one of the greats among the short story writers this tale is exactly the reason why he deserves that accolade. Because this tale is slightly longer than all of the others in the collection he is able to extend the twist and show how brutal life is among the peasantry.

In the Ravine
A merchant, who screws his customers has two sons, on deaf and one who lives away. The wife of the deaf son works with her father-in-law running the business and has started to pick up his ruthlessness. Suddenly the eldest son reappears and hands out some money to his family and then under their advice gets married to a quiet girl. The money turns out to be fraudulent and the son is sent to Siberia for six years. The trial starts to unhinge the old man, a process that is completed after the dominant daughter-in-law starts to take over. On her way to becoming a ruthless business woman she kills the child of her timid sister-in-law and virtually turns her father-in-law out of the house. A final scene has the frail and beaten old man being handed food by his timid daughter-in-law reducing him to the ranks of the peasantry and reminding everyone of how the mighty can fall.

A full review will follow over the weekend…

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