Chekhov Shorts: The Orator

Title: The Orator
Date Read: 26th June 2012
Briefly: Desperate to have an orator speak at the funeral of collegiate secretary, Kirill Ivanovitch Babilonov, Poplavsky – a friend of the deceased – calls hurriedly at the home of renowned speaker Zapoikin.
Afterthoughts: A witty tale from Chekhov, and one in which he shows that a writer need only introduce the simplest of ideas, in order to create a story that’s humourous and entertaining. Not side-splittingly hilarious by any stretch of the imagination, but a story that’s sure to raise a dry smile from all but the grumpiest of readers.
Notable Quote: “I have come for you, old man!” began Poplavsky, finding him at home. “Put on your hat and coat this minute and come along. One of our fellows is dead, we are just sending him off to the other world, so you must do a bit of palavering by way of farewell to him. . . . You are our only hope. If it had been one of the smaller fry it would not have been worth troubling you, but you see it’s the secretary . . . a pillar of the office, in a sense. It’s awkward for such a whopper to be buried without a speech.”

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).