Wednesday 6 May 2015

Lady With Lapdog and Other Stories: Anton Chekhov

I have been reading quite a bit of mush lately and my brain is feeling it.  I enjoy popular fiction very much but before long I start to crave something a bit more intelligent. Kind of like when I don't eat chocolate for a long time.

I picked this book up off my shelf where it sets with many other older Penguin Classics I have picked up at tip and op shops over time.

I have not read Chekhov but the idea of some short stories appealed to me and I was not disappointed. I continue to work my way through them but the first one I read was actually the last one listed in this book.

Lady with Lapdog is a story of a middle aged womaniser, Dmitri, who believes women are the lower class but he does not mind spending available time with them. His wife is a bit of a shrew and he prefers to not be around her much.  One day he meets Anna, a lovely woman who has a small white Pomeranian. She is on a bit of a holiday in Yalta and the two meet up.   They begin to spend evenings together talking and walking and enjoying each other's company.
The story is extremely short with the beginning describing their meeting, then onto the development of their affair.  Anna is then called homge to her husband who is having difficulty with his eyes. They part. Dmitri who has had many affairs and is now approaching the far side of middle age generally continues on until he meets his next conquest. But Anna is different. He realises he has fallen in love with her and goes to St. Petersburg to seek her out.  He meets up with her during intermission at the theatre and talks to her. She is very nervous to see him again and sends him immediately away, saying she will come back to Moscow to meet him.

This story is more of a story of beginnings then of endings because they possibly have an entire life ahead of them but the reader is left wondering what will happen to them.

Evidently Chekhov's stories revolve around everyday feelings that occur to an average person and this story is a good example of that.

I also read the short story Grief which is only a few pages long. A long married farmer is driving his wife to the hospital in a blizzard. He has left it too long and the horse has difficulty walking through the snow and he cannot see where he is going.  He realises in this short amount of time how important his wife has been to him over the past 40 years but he never acknowledged it. She dies in the back of the wagon, the blizzard rages , the hospital is too far so he simply turns around and drives home.  Chekhov's stories appear to reflect the mistakes humans make and realisation appears to come too late.  I look forward to reading more of the stories in this book.  It is certainly entertaining for my brain.  It is good to delve into the classics between the amusement of popular fiction. These stories are the kinds that seem to really stay with you despite only being pages in length.


  1. Back in the sixties I saw a wonderful (I think Russian) film made from 'Lady with a Lapdog'. I don't generally like films from books, particularly if the book is a favourite, but short stories often adapt more successfully ... no need for cutting, maybe. Anyway, I've never been able to see it again, it's certainly not available on DVD, which may save me from profound disappointment; films often wear badly, whereas Checkov certainly doesn't.

  2. Evidently 2 or 3 films , a play and even an opera have been made from this story. I would like to see the film. Maybe one day it will pop up again somewhere when you least expect it. Thanks for dropping by to tell us that. I will have to keep an eye open for something similar.


I love comments. I promise to try very hard to reply to any message left.