“Chekhov Shorts”: Mari d’Elle

Title: Mari d’Elle
Date Read: 18 August 2009
Word Count: 2031
Briefly: Opera singer Natalya Andreyevna Bronin is reposing in her bedroom, dreaming of her distant daughter, when in bursts her brash and intoxicated husband. He’s eager to share his latest money-making idea with her (importing sausage skins from the Caucasus to sell in the major Russian cities), but Natalya, not best pleased at being stirred from her slumber, she soon loses her patience with the man.
Afterthoughts: An entertaining story which is bursting at the seams with Chekhovian humour. A great ending to this one too, one which if written by any other writer would seem a bit overused and formulaic. But Chekhov, as ever, pulls it off beautifully.
Notable Quote: “And as she falls asleep she thinks of her mari d’elle, what sort of a man he is, and how this affliction has come upon her. At one time he used to live at Tchernigov, and had a situation there as a book-keeper. As an ordinary obscure individual and not the mari d’elle, he had been quite endurable: he used to go to his work and take his salary, and all his whims and projects went no further than a new guitar, fashionable trousers, and an amber cigarette-holder. Since he had become “the husband of a celebrity” he was completely transformed.”

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).