Oneworld Classics £7.99 (122pp) £7.59 from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
The Story Of A Nobody, By Anton Chekhov
Friday 22 July 2011
After a century, the finest fiction about terrorism and its motives still comes from Russians who wrote under the Tsars (and from that child of exile, Joseph Conrad).
Published in 1893, and revived in this sure-footed translation by Hugh Aplin, Chekhov's novella deserves to be much better known. Longing "to make history", the titular loser joins the household of Orlov, son of a minister judged a "serious enemy" to the radical cause.
Via harm to the family, the nobody hopes to become somebody. But then all the tugs and tangles of humanity intrude. Sympathy with the clan distracts him and the "hatred" behind his mission wanes in the face of the old man's frailty: "It is hard to strike a match against crumbling stone".
There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turningTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
- 2 Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 3 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 4 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 5 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Downton Abbey fans unimpressed by Kindle sponsorship adverts
Thomas Heatherwick creates gin palace with a fantastical Willy Wonka vibe
Cilla, episode 2, ITV, review: Sheridan Smith continues to shine
Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned PR disaster
The Lion King becomes biggest grossing musical ever
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God