Chekhov Shorts: Anyuta

Title: Anyuta
Date Read: 2nd February 2010
Word Count: 1543
Briefly: Medical student Stepan Klotchkov is in the throes of exam revision in his rather rundown apartment, when he calls upon his room mate Anyuta to pose as his ‘living skeleton’ for him (so that he can get it clear in his head the exact positioning of the ribs). A short time later Klotchkov’s artist friend Fetisov pops his head around the door to ask if he may borrow ‘Anyuta’ to be his model. As he leaves with Anyuta, Fetisov remarks on the state of the place.
Afterthoughts: While I didn’t find this story to be among one of Chekhov’s finest – it’s not particularly bad, just particularly average – I did find the story unusual in that its meaning is somewhat ambiguous. Usually Chekhov lays his stories on a plate, making them easy to read and easy to understand. Although certainly easy to read, Anyuta turns out to have any number of meanings behind it. No bad thing by any stretch, but not what I’m used to from Chekhov.
Notable Quote: In the window, covered by patterns of frost, sat on a stool the girl who shared his room — Anyuta, a thin little brunette of five-and-twenty, very pale with mild grey eyes. Sitting with bent back she was busy embroidering with red thread the collar of a man’s shirt. She was working against time. . . . The clock in the passage struck two drowsily, yet the little room had not been put to rights for the morning. Crumpled bed-clothes, pillows thrown about, books, clothes, a big filthy slop-pail filled with soap-suds in which cigarette ends were swimming, and the litter on the floor — all seemed as though purposely jumbled together in one confusion.

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).