#142 The Kiss

Find today’s 7670 word story here: http://www.chekhovshorts.com/stories/142.html

Travis review:

While there are many parts of this story that I like, I found it disappointing in the end. In a case of mistaken identity, Ryabovitch, a shy, “little officer in spectacles, with sloping shoulders, and whiskers like a lynx’s” is accidentally kissed by a woman in dark room who was waiting for somebody else in an apparent secret rendezvous. The rest of the story concerns Ryabovitch’s obsession and psychological changes after the kiss. Having had some awkward moments around women growing up, I felt for the officer and hoped he would become more assertive, perhaps emboldened enough to find a woman in another village. But that did not happen as he obsessed and remained loyal to a mistake. When he stood at bridge, realizing that no woman would be pining for him, I feared the officer might jump as he shared similar awkwardness of the protagonist in one of Chekhov’s darkest stories, Volodya. Although I was partly glad that he didn’t go to the general’s party at the end because his disappointment would have been severe, I didn’t care for his petulant, adolescent attitude in the final lines. After reading over 6000 words with this guy (Ryabovitch isn’t introduced until 1200 words in) I felt let down. I appreciated some of the details of the Russian army’s battery and the general’s family fake attitude to the officers at the beginning of the party, but I finished the long story unsatisfied.

Rating: 4

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