Don t you hate it When You Re Haunted By you re haunted by Makes me want to sleep with Strunk White under my pillow 35 overall but the majority of the stories had me glazing over so I had to nock the rating down a bit On the Telephone ah how new technology frustrate us no matter what era we are born to a laugh out loud storyConversation Between A Drunkard And A Sober Devil And The Exclamation a Drunkard and a Sober Devil and The Exclamation creative fun colourful and full of uniue stimulating thoughtsA Nightmare a story that was humourous yet not so much
SO THAT ITS SHARP SOCIAL POINT
that its sharp social point dulled The title story filled me with a mixed response After reading another reader s response I was struck by a psychological truth we may all understand a story at the same nomothetic general level that s how we can discuss it and now we are all talking about the same story but how wide the difference in our response at an idiographic individualspecific level that s when the book discussion gets white hot and personal that s when I rate it one and my friend rates it five I thought the story was about the man s self insight that he has created his own excitement no matter how tedious and dull his job while the other reader thought the job itself was worthy of exclamation marks Speaking of understandingPerhaps it is just my literary fiction illiteracy I m trying or maybe I m just intrinsically gauche but I don t understand why the majority of the punctuation in The Exclamation Mark is so atrociously wrong Is it supposed to be part of a joke or maybe it s metaphoric ironic I mean what is and And those are only two of many examples The restwere unremarkable leaving me dispassionately uninterested The Exclamation Mark is a collection of just over twenty short essays by a master of that genre Anton ChekhovMost of these compositions are just a few pages in length one or two are just half a page all but two date to 1886Strange little tales from Anton that often left me with a wry smile Sadly although he was a ualified doctor tuberculosis took him in 1904 aged just 44 I noticed The Exclamation Mark Hesperus Classics 2008 in my local library so decided to read it as a start to my Chekhov reading for 2015 It consists of twenty one stories all published between December 1885 and June 1886 as well as a later version of one of the stories For the record here is the total listingThe Exclamation Mark A Christmas Story New Year Martyrs Competition A Failure On the Telephone Kids Grief Conversation Between a Drunkard and a Sober Devil The Reuiem Bliny A Little Joke In Springtime A Nightmare The Rook Grisha On Easter Night A Tale The Literary Table of Ranks Romance With Double Bass Superfluous People A Little Joke 1899 revised versionI wasn t sure what to expect with this collection from his early period as I d only previously read stories from his later period A uick look at the first story when I was in the library suggested that they were short frivolous pieces and some of them are just that some of the stories are little than one page comedy sket. A civil servant stands accused of not understanding the rules of punctuation He begins to go through the correct use of commas and semicolons before arriving at the exclamation mark which he realizes in 40 years of writing he has never used From here he develops a bizarre and paranoid fantasy in which
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Ches that were written for a comic weekly called Oskolki but there are also some surprisingly mature stories in this collection as well In the introduction Rosamund Bartlett mentions that
mature stories in this collection as well In the introduction Rosamund Bartlett mentions that period was significant for Chekhov as he received a letter from a fellow writer Dmitry Grigorovich urging him to concentrate on serious writing However the comic works are still uite amusing For example we have the title story The Exclamation Mark A Christmas Story in which a civil servant goes to bed feeling insulted after a young work colleague declares that he doesn t now how to use exclamation marks properly in New Year Martyrs we get the amusing account of another official Sinkleteyev who has collapsed in the street after making his rounds on New Year s Day drinking the health of friends family members and colleagues my favourite is the farcical Romance With Double Bass in which a double bass player Smychkov goes for a swim ON A WARM SUMMER S DAY MEETS A BEAUTIFUL a warm summer s day meets a beautiful asleep whilst fishing decides to play a prank on her which misfires He then notices that someone has stolen his clothes The girl also has her clothes stolen and well they meet up naked under a bridge he offers to hide her in his instrument case and then promptly loses her and believes that he s inadvertently illed herit s all very silly but funny nonetheless I enjoyed The Kids as well it s a five page story that is just about a group of children alone playing cards whilst waiting for their mother to return home from a christening There are also two versions of the story A
waiting for their mother to return home from a christening There are also two versions of the story A Joke the original version was published in 1886 and the revised version is from 1899 It s a simple and repetitive tale where the narrator encourages his reluctant fiancee to go tobogganing when he does convince her he says in a low voice I love you Nadya but Nadya is unsure whether to believe her ears under the noise of the wind and the toboggan runners Her fear of tobogganing is overcome by her desire to hear the narrator declare his love to her The early story has an optimistic ending whilst the later version is less so It s interesting seeing the two different versions and although there is nothing wrong with the original version I feel that the later version is better One of the longer stories is On Easter Night which didn t seem to go anywhere but I was impressed with A Nightmare which centres around a businessman Kunin and the impoverished local priest Father Smirnov Not much happens but Kunin who is initially contemptuous of Smirnov begins to feel compassion for the young priest In summary this book contains a good variety of early stories by Chekhov I thought Chekhov would be too advanced for me but this is actually a fun book There are some funny stories some sad stories and others that just discuss Russian life during that time There s a story that s literally just a character trying to make a phone call Everything is just bloody brilliant i ve only recently fallen in love with some of the great russian masters after reading tw. Veryday objects transform into malevolent exclamation marks Written when Chekhov was on the verge of becoming a literary celebrity this is an enlightening new selection that reveals the author’s often neglected comic talentsContentsThe Exclamation Mark A Christmas Story; New Year Martyrs; Competition;.