Chekhov Shorts: A Misfortune

Title: A Misfortune
Date Read: 1st June 2010
Briefly: Sofya Petrovna the twenty-five-year-old wife of Lubyantsev the notary, has summoned her lover, the lawyer Ilyin, to tell him that for the sake of her marriage the relationship must end. Ilyin who has an infatuation with the young wife doesn’t take the news well, and for some reason Sofya is also finding it hard to sever the ties that bind them.
Afterthoughts: So far this has to be the most psychologically explorative story I’ve read from Chekhov. It’s a story which focuses almost exclusively on Sofya and the inner tussle she is having between feelings of guilt and of wanton lust. As such this stands as a quite remarkable tale, and it’s one which is very different from the usual type of story that Chekhov serves up. It’s fairly lengthy but worth reading for the novelty factor alone.
Notable Quote: Sofya Petrovna’s soul was filled with a sweet sense of relief: the most difficult and delicate thing had been said, the painful question was settled and done with. Now she could breathe freely and look Ilyin straight in the face. She looked at him, and the egoistic feeling of the superiority of the woman over the man who loves her, agreeably flattered her. It pleased her to see this huge, strong man, with his manly, angry face and his big black beard — clever, cultivated, and, people said, talented — sit down obediently beside her and bow his head dejectedly. For two or three minutes they sat without speaking.

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).