Chekhov Shorts: Grisha

Title: Grisha
Date Read: 9th March 2010
Briefly: Venturing out into the big wide world for the first time, toddler Grisha tries to make sense of all that he sees. As he looks to his nurse for some reassurance and guidance, the world seems a discouraging place for someone so small. And it’s made all the more daunting by the fact that Grisha has still to learn how to communicate outwardly.
Afterthoughts: Sometimes I find a tale from Chekhov which stands on its own as a real tribute to the man’s prowess and skill in the art of storytelling. Grisha is one such story. Chekhov is astutely observant in showing the world from a young child’s perspective, and he delivers these observations with such profoundness and sublimity that Grisha is I think, unmissable. I recommend that you savour every moment of this one, and read every sentence as slowly and thoughtfully as possible.
Notable Quote: Hitherto Grisha has known only a rectangular world, where in one corner stands his bed, in the other nurse’s trunk, in the third a chair, while in the fourth there is a little lamp burning. If one looks under the bed, one sees a doll with a broken arm and a drum; and behind nurse’s trunk, there are a great many things of all sorts: cotton reels, boxes without lids, and a broken Jack-a-dandy. In that world, besides nurse and Grisha, there are often mamma and the cat. Mamma is like a doll, and puss is like papa’s fur-coat, only the coat hasn’t got eyes and a tail. From the world which is called the nursery a door leads to a great expanse where they have dinner and tea. There stands Grisha’s chair on high legs, and on the wall hangs a clock which exists to swing its pendulum and chime. From the dining-room, one can go into a room where there are red arm-chairs. Here, there is a dark patch on the carpet, concerning which fingers are still shaken at Grisha. Beyond that room is still another, to which one is not admitted, and where one sees glimpses of papa — an extremely enigmatical person!

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).