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".
TVJamie's Sugar Rush reveal's campaigning chef's new foe
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 What marriage would look like if we actually followed the Bible
- 2 President Obama leaves touching comment on Humans of New York photo from Iran
- 3 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
- 4 The Chinese city where men have 'three girlfriends because there are so many women'
- 5 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan
The Gamechangers trailer: Daniel Radcliffe stars in GTA movie
Star Wars: New action dolls launched on Force Friday ahead of The Force Awakens release
Ricki And The Flash, film review: Meryl Streep's rock'n'roll creation steals the show
Joan Aiken: Today's Google Doodle celebrates life of British fantasy novelist
Photographer captures the beauty and intensity of his girlfriend giving birth at home
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Refugees welcome: More than 250,000 sign Independent petition calling for Britain to 'take its fair share'