Anton Checkhov, “The Cherry Orchard”

This is my first go at Russian literature from around the turn of the 20th century. I have heard that Russian literature is different in a distinct number of ways, but I was unsure of how different it was or where those differences were. After reading, I can say that it is indeed a unique experience.

A quick plot summary: the plot follows an aristocratic Russian family at the turn of the 20th century. The family’s estate will be auctioned soon, yet they do nothing to save it when presented with multiple opportunities. The estate ends up being sold to the son of a former serf who lived on the estate. (The play is online)

The usage of words is different than in most other works of the same time frame. It focuses more on the emotions and individuality of each character. Checkhov draws deeply upon his past, with a large number of connections to events in the play. The play captures the emotional and social upheaval during that time frame in Russia.

If you are interested in a unique reading experience, “The Cherry Orchard” is a good place to start.

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