The Lady with the Little Dog and Other Stories, 1896-1904 by Anton Chekhov
I read this following on from the Chekhov biography.
I particularly enjoyed ‘The House with the Mezzanine’, ‘Peasants’, and ‘A Visit to Friends’. In addition to the general lyrical descriptions, I found the ‘something didn’t happen’ style quite appealing — that’s what life is like. In ‘A Visit to Friends’ the narrator Podgorin thinks about asking Nadezhda to marry him, but doesn’t and later he is in a tower under the moonlight when she arrives, but doesn’t reveal himself to her. A perfect opportunity for a romantic get-together avoided. I saw that Tolstoy thought ‘Peasants’ was a libel against the Russian people, because it didn’t portray them as heroic and oppressed, but contributing to their own problems. This reminded me of Zola’s La Terre where the peasants are also less than heroic. However, in Zola events seem a device to lead to the conclusion, pretty woman dieing and heroic man walking on in the early morning. Chekhov seems to avoid this.