Chekhov Shorts: Vanka

Title: Vanka (*note – the translation read for this review was Pevear & Volokhonsky’s in Selected Stories of Anton Chekhov (Bantam Books)
Date Read: 16th March 2010
Briefly: It’s Christmas Eve and poor shoemaker’s apprentice Vanka is missing home. The nine-year-old sits down and pens a little to his distant grandfather, in the hope that he will rescue him from his new life of cruelty and unhappiness.
Afterthoughts: This is one of Chekhov’s shorter stories and if I’m being honest it’s nothing more than standard fare from the Russian master. It does have one saving grace though – a subtle, yet clever ending. See if you can work out what I’m talking about.
Notable Quote: Vanka raised his eyes to the dark ikon on which the light of his candle was reflected, and vividly recalled his grandfather, Konstantin Makaritch, who was night watchman to a family called Zhivarev. He was a thin but extraordinarily nimble and lively little old man of sixty-five, with an everlastingly laughing face and drunken eyes.

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).