Synopsis: When Gurov sees the lady with the little dog on a windswept promenade, he knows he must have her. But she is different from his other flings – he cannot forget her. Chekhov’s stories are of lost love, love at the wrong time and love that can never be.
Title: A Russian Affair
Author: Anton Chekhov
A Russian Affair is the second book I’ve read in Penguin’s Great Loves series; it is also my first encounter with Chekhov.
I can safely say I’m starting to fall in love with the writing style of Russian novelists, especially Chekhov. The prose in A Russian Affair is beautiful, simple, yet strangely emotive (I admit I got a little choked up at one of the stories). He doesn’t mess about with the idealistic goals of a perfect love, but relays the horrible, matter-of-fact and irrationally desirable truth about it. Love is messy; it is neither convenient nor perfect; and it definitely doesn’t conquer all
My favourite of all the collection was ‘About Love’, the first story. Although it didn’t end the way I’d hoped, I found it provocative and inspiring.
‘I realized how unnecessary, how petty, and how deceptive all that had hindered us from loving was. I understood that when you love you must either, in your reasonings about that love, start from what is highest, from what is more important than happiness or unhappiness, sin or virtue in their accepted meaning, or you must not reason at all.’
Despite the fact that I loved 2 of the short stories, liked the other 2, and couldn’t abide the protagonist in one; I hold by my decision to give this collection 4/5 stars. This is an exquisite collection and one that I will definitely read again.