Date Read: 23rd November 2010
Briefly: This story finds artist Yegor Savvitch in despondent and unsettled mood. Having spent the summer in retreat at the house of an officer’s widow, he returns the following day to town disappointed that his artistic endeavours haven’t amounted to much. He still clings however, on to the belief that he is destined to become a great artist. There is another person who shares his belief – the widow’s daughter Katya, who has herself endured a severe upbringing at the hands of a strict mother.
Afterthoughts: This story, which is quite humorous in parts, plays up to the subject of the lethargic artist, and the visions of grandeur which many of them grasp on to, and keep close to their hearts. I have a daughter who keeps telling me she’s going to be a great artist one day, and with a father’s optimism I believe her. However her easel lies empty more often than not, and her portfolio never seems to get any thicker. This story reminds me of my daughter’s artistic situation, with an added element of Chekhovian desperation.
Notable Quote: The artist drank a glass of vodka, and the dark cloud in his soul gradually disappeared, and he felt as though all his inside was smiling within him. He began dreaming. . . . His fancy pictured how he would become great. He could not imagine his future works but he could see distinctly how the papers would talk of him, how the shops would sell his photographs, with what envy his friends would look after him.
*Story read as part of my Checkin’ Off The Chekhov Shorts reading challenge.