“Chekhov Shorts”: A Dead Body

Title: A Dead Body
Date Read: 26 March 2009
Word Count: 1798
Briefly: Two peasants are on watch of a dead body at night, on the edge of a forest, by the side of the road. Somewhat spooked by the situation he finds himself in, the younger of the peasants is distracting himself by berating the older one for being something of a simpleton. The eeriness increases however when a monk happens along the road, and it’s a monk who has a big fear of the dead.
Afterthoughts: This story start off really well, both with a cracking description of the two peasants, and an hilarious exchange (I say exchange but it is rather one-sided), between the two men. Sadly though it doesn’t get a lot better than this and the story quickly loses pace and focus.
Notable Quote: “One, a tall young fellow with a scarcely perceptible moustache and thick black eyebrows, in a tattered sheepskin and bark shoes, is sitting on the wet grass, his feet stuck out straight in front of him, and is trying to while away the time with work. He bends his long neck, and breathing loudly through his nose, makes a spoon out of a big crooked bit of wood; the other — a little scraggy, pock-marked peasant with an aged face, a scanty moustache, and a little goat’s beard — sits with his hands dangling loose on his knees, and without moving gazes listlessly at the light.”

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

*Story read as part of my Checkin’ Off The Chekhov Shorts reading challenge.

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).