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 –

  1. Two people, sometimes known to each other, sometimes not, meet
  2. They talk. A lot.
  3. They talk about Russia, religion, how to live. They tell stories.
  4. End.

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.

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