Chekhov Shorts: A Peculiar Man

Title: A Peculiar Man
Date Read: 20th September 2011
Briefly: Midwife, Marya Petrovna Koshkin is awoken in the middle of the night by Kiryakov, a ‘tall, well-made gentleman, no longer young, but with a handsome, severe face and bushy whiskers.’ The man’s wife is in labour and he requires the services of the midwife with some urgency. However, it seems to be more important to Kiryakov to set the right charges before the services of the midwife are engaged.
Afterthoughts: I really rather enjoyed this short moralistic story from Chekhov, not least for his treatment of the character Kiryakov, who turns out to be rather a despicable man. In this tale Chekhov succinctly explores what can happen when one becomes too preoccupied with money minding and penny pinching. He does greatly exaggerate things, but in doing so his message comes through loud and clear.
Notable Quote: Extraordinary the way things are mismanaged. Neither the chemist, nor the police, nor the house-porters can give me the address of a midwife, and so I am under the necessity of assenting to your terms. I will give you three roubles, but . . . I warn you beforehand that when I engage servants or receive any kind of services, I make an arrangement beforehand in order that when I pay there may be no talk of extras, tips, or anything of the sort. Everyone ought to receive what is his due.

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).