Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Lunchtime read: The Steppe and Other Stories

Most of the Chekhov so far has been thought provoking but not necessarily depressing but the stories from today are very much in the classic tragic Russian mould. Provoked one work colleague to make another request for me to read Jeffery Archer, “something not only light and enjoyable but also fantastically well written”. Enough in just bone sentence to fill up a million blogs in debate…

Highlights from Volodya
A young man who is staying with friends of the family because his mother is not doing so well financially following his father’s death falls in love with the woman of the house. He tells her that he loves her and then later that same night tries to get physically involved with her but both times is rebuffed with indifference and overhears the woman laughing about him to his mother. He goes home with his mother and abuses her verbally and then slinks off manages to get hold of a revolver and then still in a state of heart broken petulance puts the barrel in his mouth and pulls the trigger.

Highlights from Sleepy
A woman who appears to have been sold into service is exhausted looking after her master and mistress’s baby. She dreams of sleep recalling the moment when her father and mother sold her on the highway and then she is sent scurrying here and there to do jobs and chores. By the end of the night she can barely stand and she realises that what is preventing her from sleeping is the child. So she strangles the infant and then lays down next to the cot and falls into a deep sleep.

The first part of The Steppe comes tomorrow…

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