I do this thing where I can’t tell if I like an author. So I just keep reading. Or worse, I read a bunch of things by an author and then I can’t figure out if I like them or not because I DO like some of what they write and not others. But especially with classic literature, I struggle, because it’s hard for me to be ok liking some things a writer writes but not others. And then in Russian literature, it’s even harder because so many bad translations of Russian lit have been out in various ways and so it’s hard to tell some times. I don’t know if I like Fathers and Sons or hate it, until I read it again with a different translator. Or, I like Constance Garnett and I like Pevear and Volokohonsky, but I have’t reread anything they both translated to know for sure which I like more in a given author’s work.
So with Chekhov, I feel like I have read about 100 things he written, even though I have only read like 20.
I liked this play, but it felt fairly slight at times. It’s rich in detail and character, and man do the characters get to chew some scenery if they want to. I get the impression that this is an actor’s play, meaning that actors really like it for how juicy it is. I get this from the fact that Uncle Vanya, who represents not even the biggest role in the play, is like Lear in the weighty sense of actors in other works taking on the role as an iconic role.
But there’s something sad and touching about an older man lamenting his lost youth and dreading the years to come having lost his sense of purpose. If I were still 17 I would eat that up. Instead, I am 35 and Vanya is 47, so dread dread dread and worry for me.