I’ve had the good fortune to see a great deal of theatre in my time and one of the first playwrights I swore off of was Chekhov. (The second was Noel Coward.) I just felt like, “Okay, I got this. Enough already.”
Then along came my book club with the suggestion that we consider him first as a short story writer because he’s known as “the greatest short story writer who has ever lived.” And this, from Raymond Carver, not a bad one himself.
I think I only knew of one story before I started in on this collection and that was “The Bet,” which I like. This collection? Not so much. A recipe emerges –
- Two people, sometimes known to each other, sometimes not, meet
- They talk. A lot.
- They talk about Russia, religion, how to live. They tell stories.
I’m not obsessed with plot, but I think something has to happen. Whatever it is people are seeing in this guy, I’m just not getting it.