Chekhov Shorts: Not Wanted

Title: Not Wanted
Date Read: 11th May 2010
Briefly: Summer holidays are more trouble than they’re worth if you believe anything that Zaikin says. Vexed at the cost and effort of going away for the summer, Zaikin’s bad mood is set to get a whole lot worse when he realises that his wife is more concerned with socialising and flirting rather than paying attention to her own husband.
Afterthoughts: Another ‘woe is me’ tale from Chekhov which comes laced with a generous dose of wry Chekhovian humour. There’s nothing particularly outstanding in this tale – aside from perhaps son Petya’s bizarre treatment of insects – but it still offers a satisfying reading experience.
Notable Quote: “It’s altogether abominable,” said Zaikin after a brief silence. “I maintain, sir, that summer holidays are the invention of the devil and of woman. The devil was actuated in the present instance by malice, woman by excessive frivolity. Mercy on us, it is not life at all; it is hard labour, it is hell! It’s hot and stifling, you can hardly breathe, and you wander about like a lost soul and can find no refuge. In town there is no furniture, no servants. . . everything has been carried off to the villa: you eat what you can get; you go without your tea because there is no one to heat the samovar; you can’t wash yourself; and when you come down here into this ‘lap of Nature’ you have to walk, if you please, through the dust and heat. . . . Phew!

Rating: ★★★½☆

*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).