This book doesn’t quite end in the way you expect – with death or some tragic loss of employment – but it is moving nonetheless. The clerk is changed over night following the handout of 100 roubles from his ultimate superior, his Excellency. But it comes too late to save his friend.
She has been courted in an incredibly aggressive way by a rural merchant who pushed her into marriage and then drags her away forever into the countryside. As her marriage unfolds and the day of her departure draws near the clerk is bed-bound with illness and despite his heart breaking has neither the strength or the financial might to get her to change her course.
This story shines a light on the poverty that surrounded a certain class of people in Russia that are in employment but always one slip or illness away from losing everything.
Powerful stuff and in the spirit of sticking with it for a bit longer I am going to read the other couple of stories that are included in this volume, The Landlady, Mr Prokharchin and Polzunkov.
I will post on those in the next few days…