Friday, November 02, 2007

Chekhov and Making Small Things Greater

Several actors in Robert Dessaix’s novel Corfu, are discussing the style of Anton Chekhov:

What we can hold onto in it [Uncle Vanya by Chekhov], however, is Chekhov’s astonishing ability to make small things greater and big things… not smaller exactly, but big for smaller, more human reasons. Drinking tea, loving a woman, saving the forests, playing the guitar, a botched operation, a thunderstorm, the pointlessness of everything… somehow or other (it’s a mystery to me, I can’t fathom it) all these things make space for each other, allow each other their own particular value, refuse to shout each other down.

In life things may not work out like this, but they do in the play. Life, so to speak, may not be beautiful, but its translation may be.

Robert Dessaix, Corfu (A Novel) (London: Scribner, 2003), 247-248.

Image: “A thunderstorm… it’s a mystery to me…”