#152 A Nervous Breakdown

Find this 8887 word story here: http://www.chekhovshorts.com/stories/152.html

Travis review:

This six part story concerns law student with acute empathy who is taken out by his friends for a night of debauchery in the Moscow red light district. Vassilyev’s hyper-empathy causes personal distress as he tries to unsuccessfully relate to the fallen women creating an emotional tailspin. It is funny how he looks at street as they are going to the street of ill repute “everything was soft, white, young, and this made the houses look quite different from the day before.” Vassilyev is chastised early on by his friend as if they are used to his demeanor “...No philosophizing, please. Vodka is given us to be drunk, sturgeon to be eaten, women to be visited, snow to be walked upon. For one evening anyway live like a human being!” When he thinks of the women, he thinks of them as martyrs.  He also obsesses about the men (or flunkeys) who provide security in the house and how they got this dead end job. There were some great insightful moments of the human condition as Vassailyev comes to the conclusion the fallen women “…were not on the road to ruin, but ruined…” and wonders what the purpose of life is. Vassilyev is, I believe, Chekhov’s most sensitive character. And to end, here is a video of Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker’s Breakdown.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SW8Xb7_nY5Y

Rating: 7

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