checking off Chekhov

Thought you might like an update on my literary commute. It’s going well. So far, from the list I posted on November 12th, I’ve read Pride and PrejudiceCrime and Punishment, and The Prime Minister, the latter, with its story of the dastardly foreign intruder Fernando Lopez (who just doesn’t understand decent English morals), my favourite Trollope so far. I did stray from the list to read a volume of Chekhov’s short stories, because I’m doing an online short-story writing course at the moment in an attempt to win some competitions this year, and I read somewhere that if you are studying the short-story form, look no further than Chekhov. Well, I beg to disagree. I mean, they were OK—there was none of the depressing depravity of Crime and Punishment and lots of love stories, both of which are plus points for me. But why were nearly all the female protagonists called Lizveta (or variations thereof? And why do Russian names in general have so many variations—it’s really hard to keep track of characters when they are called by about six different names . . . I digress.) And there were lots of sudden, jarring endings, which really annoyed me. One story even ended “and then he died” which I believe is shorthand for “and then the author just wanted to finish the story.” Maybe nineteenth-century Russia just isn’t my scene. To be honest, I’m dying to get back to the contemporary world once I’ve worked my way through this particular list of classics. (My bedtime reading lately has included Dance of the Happy Shades by Alice Munro and No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July—both brilliant.)

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One Response to checking off Chekhov

  1. louschmoo says:

    I kinda like the “and then he died” ending!! It’s certainly final!! 😉

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