Book Review: The Duel by Anton Chekov


My first Chekov. So how do I feel? Pretty enthusiastic. The story is set in a hot provincial coastal city in the Caucasus. Civil servant and general ne’er do well, Laevsky had moved there with his mistress to get away from her husband. Now two years later they no longer love each other. On top of that she is fit for no work, doesn’t know how, and he is perpetually in debt without much hope of paying it off. He wants to leave her, she kind of wants to leave him. She is a bit of a loose woman while he oddly doesn’t really stray (or did I miss something?). Van Koren, one of Laevsky’s acquaintances really dislikes Laevsky and tricks him into a duel intending to kill him under the guise of giving Darwinian natural selection a helping hand.

Instead there is a transformation…which I found kind of anticlimactic and a little facile.

The Verdict: I enjoyed this one for the cringe-worthy jam that Laevsky and his mistress find themselves in. Kind of enjoyed their misery because it wasn’t mine. Phew.

2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Duel by Anton Chekov

  1. C.B. James August 29, 2011 / 10:59 pm

    I so wanted to read all of these Duels. I'll get to them all someday. I have not read this Chekov, but you can put me down as a fan. If you ever get the chance, Uncle Vanya is simply the best piece of drama ever written. Entertaining, funny and heartbreaking. And it's got a script that can't go wrong even in the hands of the most amateur community theatre group.


  2. Thomas at My Porch August 30, 2011 / 2:03 pm

    CB: It has been fun to compare them. I only have two to go, but one is 300 pages. That may not happen soon.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.