A Nervous Breakdown by Anton Chekov


In this collection of three of Chekov’s short stories it becomes clear why Chekov is often praised as the master of the short story. What should a good short story do? In a word: work. And do each of these stories work? Yes. They are variously haunting, sad, amusing, but always compelling. Which very much gets to the point: why do they work? Everything is well balanced: narrative and description. Scenes are well placed. Narrative time slows down, speeds up. Events happen. Time passes. The reader finds themselves in just the right place and time to pick up the thread of the story, a thread that is never, however, dropped. And we are led to the ending, as well as being allowed to find it ourselves. We are, with Chekov, simultaneously surprised and reassured: we find that the world is as we think it, people are as we imagined, and events transpire just so: this is the world according to Chekov.


Mr A


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