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Saturday, 1 July 2017

Lady with Lapdog & Other Stories by Anton Chekhov

Today, I wanted to suggest an author whom I adore. Although his stories are dramatic, he has a somewhat humorous way of writing that warms the heart: it is his great art. So my dear readers, I will be frequently posting little reviews of the short stories of Anton Chekhov. Here is the first episode.


The Chemist’s Wife by Anton Chekhov (1886)
The young wife of the chemist cannot sleep. Her husband Chernomordik snores. She gets bored and feels upset, oppressed.

In the night she hears the footsteps of two men, two officers approaching. It is the doctor and the young officer Obtiossov. Passing the chemist’s shop, they decide to go in, despite the late hour, because the chemist’s wife is to their liking.

They buy her mint lozenges and then Seltz water. They talk amiably, want wine. She drinks with them, she is cheerful and momentarily escapes her loneliness. They flatter her... It is getting late and they leave with regret.

Once in the street, Obtiossov returns to the store and rings the bell again, hoping perhaps to talk more with her or to pay her court... But it is her husband who comes to serve him. His wife was much attracted by the officer, but her husband was unaware.

And here is the chemist’s wife of this little town, who repeats with bitter tears “How unhappy I am, how unhappy I am - and no one knows”


Author: Anton Pavlovitch Chekhov was born on 17 January 1860 in Taganrog, a port of Azov in southern Russia. He was a Russian playwright and short story writer and is considered to be the greatest writer of fictional short stories ever. In 1886 he graduated in medicine and practised as a medical doctor in Moscow, whilst writing in parallel. Chekhov died of tuberculosis in July 1904, he was 44 years old.


My thoughts: This book, re-edited in 2016 by Folio Classique, contains 15 short stories, each with a common theme, namely women, indeed the book is dedicated “to the kingdom of women”. In his work one finds happy women, even more unhappy ones and also bitches, even criminals. Their common point is that they are misunderstood women, very alone, aspiring to another life and not knowing how to change their existence.
Anton Chekhov was a little misogynous, cold and taciturn and with an unparalleled sense of humour (albeit very cynical, I must confess). Chekhov tended to believe that he wrote comic stories, even when he drew tears from his readers and, thus, he was astonished to learn that great Russian writers, such as Léon Tolstoï, had read “Douchetchka” four times in the same day saying that this short story had made him more intelligent.
This is not surprising, since Anton Chekhov drew his inspiration from real life models. Moreover, some of his friends and acquaintances were angry with him for having dared to take inspiration from a part of their life.
Finally, did you know that we owe this famous aphorism to Anton Chekhov: “If you fear solitude, do not marry.” In my opinion, this gives an accurate image of Chekhov’s attitude towards women. But for my part, I love this great author: his books and short stories are a real treat.
It is for this reason that I decided to publish here, over the coming months, brief summaries of the stories I prefer. Perhaps this review has aroused you curiosity?
For my part, they go right to my heart with their mixture of romanticism and nostalgia.

25 comments:

  1. Excellent post (as always)!Thank you very much :)
    Have a great weekend! xx

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    1. Thank you, Amira. You are more than welcome :)

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  2. I wish I could read as much as possible!!!
    The chemist's wife is rather a miserable woman...hehehe...this story is really funny. Great review! Looking forward to reading more of this :D

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    1. Ohhhh...thank you, lovely! From September on there will be more :)

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  3. Great post. And I love Chekhov. But didn't read this one!
    Have a nice weekend. :)

    Kathy's delight I Instagram I Facebook

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  4. Oh pauvre pharmacienne!!! Il faut être un grand écrivain pour rendre une situation banale en une histoire captivante et originale par son sujet, j'aime la manière dont elle est racontée. J'ai hâte de découvrir les autres nouvelles. Gros bisous ma jolie <333

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    1. Je suis du même avis que toi, Chantal !
      Le grand Anton Tchekhov avait la perspicacité d'esprit et une finesse de tact... Bises :)

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  5. Great post. As you know I recently read a collection of Chekhov's short stories myself.

    He was such a brilliant author. As you say, he was simultaneously funny and sad.

    The Chemist’s Wife was not included in the collection that I read. I think that I will seek it out and read it soon.

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    1. Thank you, Brian! I still remember it very well - we have very similar reading tastes. I think this one is worthy of being read :)

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  6. "Her husband snores!" - Oh boy I can relate to this!

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  7. Vou adorar esses resumos!...
    Adorei o post! Que me deu a conhecer mais alguns pormenores sobre a vida desse grande escritor... de morte tão prematura!
    Ficará o seu talento para sempre, nas suas obras!...
    Beijinhos! Bom domingo!
    Ana

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    1. Muito obrigada, Ana ! Um autor que nos deixou obras de uma rara beleza -  histórias simples em aparência mas com muita filosofia. Como esta história "La Parmacienne" que é a história de uma mulher que se sente sozinha, seu marido esquece dela, dois homens vêm à farmácia, a fazem olhinhos, ela hesita em ir com eles, mas, eventualmente, fica lá chorando na cama com seu marido que ressona ao seu lado....
      Beijinhos e boas férias :)

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  8. Great review of one of Russia's brilliant minds in literature who developed Moscow's Art Theatre. I enjoyed reading this short story, it's very well written, even if the plot is very light...
    One of my favorite quotes by Anton Chekhov - I promise to be an excellent husband, but give me a wife who, like the moon, will not appear every day in my sky.

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    1. Hahahaha... What are you like, Charles?!! Such a vivid spirit.
      I hope you are okay and ready for your fab trip :)

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  9. Registo a sugestão de leitura.
    Boa semana

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  10. I've always been a fan of short stories- not so much effort to read, I guess. This collection sounds very interesting - analysing the female condition through the eyes of a humorous misogynist!

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    1. I couldn't have said it better myself. Thank you, Cresta Bear :)

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  11. I have always been curious to read Chekhov but haven't gotten to it yet. You have rekindled my interest and I look forward to your coming reviews!

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    1. I could not put this book down! I definitely recommend it to you. Thank you for taking the time to read this review :)

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  12. Chekhov is so famous, but I haven't read.
    Now I am interested in his story after reading your wonderful review!
    I love “If you fear solitude, do not marry.”

    akiko

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    1. Thanks a million, Akiko. I love it too :)

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  13. Sou uma apreciadora destas histórias, mesmo em resumo. O que eu gosto, é que elas refletem o cotidiano da vida das pessoas, são reais, mesmo que as conheçamos nas folhas de um livro.

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