Date Read: 11 January 2010
Word Count: 1944
Briefly: A group of five children are gathered around the dining-room table playing loto (apparently a game similar to bingo). They’re using money (kopecks) to gamble on the game, and it soon becomes clear that not all the children gathered, are necessarily there to make money.
Afterthoughts: Well, I don’t really know what to make of this story because in all honesty it’s somewhat odd. The characterisation is superb – as one would expect from Chekhov – but the whole raison d’etre for the story just isn’t entirely clear. It could be exploring any number of things – the naivety of childhood; coming of age; kids trying to adults and not succeeding; a ‘while the cat’s away’ scenario etc. But actually, let’s just say it’s all of those things (and probably more), because at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter. What does matter though is whether this story is entertaining or not. And thinking about it, Children certainly is (although not quite as entertaining as some of his others).
Notable Quote: “Alyosha, a chubby, spherical little figure, gasps, breathes hard through his nose, and stares open-eyed at the cards. He is moved neither by covetousness nor vanity. So long as he is not driven out of the room, or sent to bed, he is thankful. He looks phlegmatic, but at heart he is rather a little beast. “
*Story read as part of my Checkin’ Off The Chekhov Shorts reading challenge.