October 3, 2013

The Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov (Review)

Title: The Three Sisters
Author: Anton Chekhov
First published: 1900
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Rating: ★★★★☆

I really like Chekhov. He somehow manages to speak about very complicated things without complicating his writing and making it pretentious and pathetic. All his characters are very easily imaginable by the way they speak, and there's no need in descriptions or commentaries whatsoever. And what's most important, you can really believe that that's exactly how people of their position and disposition would speak. Nothing is feigned.

The Three Sisters shows a family of a brother and three sisters living in Russian countryside. They are too educated and refined for their surroundings, and this discrepancy is torturing them. They dream of going back to Moscow, but this is not going to happen, and their accomplishments will be wasted on people who can't appreciate them. I can totally relate to their feelings. Fortunately, I'm now always among my equals in education and intellect, but there were periods in my life when I felt myself as a "f***ing genius", and it was horrible, mainly because I still had to behave civilly towards everybody who annoyed me so much. The sisters' situation becomes even worse when their brilliant brother marries a simple country girl, has two children, forgets his scientific career and becomes a clerk. But they still hope to escape this horrible place, to go to Moscow and to start leading a meaningful life.

There is of course a wonderfully vivid set of supporting characters, most of them representing some aspect of intellectual degradation, and they would have been really funny if the whole situation was not so sad. The Three Sisters is characteristic of Chekhov's style, but I must say I liked The Seagull and The Cherry Orchard more, although we were deconstructing the latter at school, and it usually spoils everything.

In my book:
As all Chekhov's plays, a wonderful piece of drama. Very close to five stars, but not quite there, at least for me.


  1. I just finished this one too. I really loved it. Shortly after that I saw a play called "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike." It was last year's Tony award-winner for Best Play. It was almost a modern (very loose) re-telling of Chekhov's work. It was fun to see a twist on it after reading the play.

    1. This play sounds interesting, I need to check it out! I like retellings if they are respectful and not too pushy-modern :) Thanks for recommendation!


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