Date Read: 07 June 2009
Word Count: 2253
Briefly: On a borrowed horse-drawn sledge the peasant Grigory Petrov is en route to hospital with his sick wife. The snow is blinding, progress is slow, and what begins as an opportunity for Petrov to moan and complain about everything, quickly turns into a journey filled with remorse and regret, as Petrov begins to reminisce about his last 40 years of marriage.
Afterthoughts: Definitely not a feel good tale, this one turns out to be rather sad in the end, so don’t look to this story if you’re looking for a slice of Chekhovian humour. A few of the sentences are quite awkwardly translated but this doesn’t detract too much from the powerfulness of the story.
Notable Quote: “And the turner went on muttering endlessly. He prattled on mechanically to get a little relief from his depressing feelings. He had plenty of words on his tongue, but the thoughts and questions in his brain were even more numerous. Sorrow had come upon the turner unawares, unlooked-for, and unexpected, and now he could not get over it, could not recover himself. He had lived hitherto in unruffled calm, as though in drunken half-consciousness, knowing neither grief nor joy, and now he was suddenly aware of a dreadful pain in his heart. The careless idler and drunkard found himself quite suddenly in the position of a busy man, weighed down by anxieties and haste, and even struggling with nature. ”
*Story read as part of my Checkin’ Off The Chekhov Shorts reading challenge.