Thursday, April 1, 1999

The 306 Greatest Books #11 - The Cherry Orchard

I am going back and posting all of my previous book reviews so that they are listed on my site in chronological order. The reviews are dated for the time when I read the book, hence the reason many of them will be listed for times before this website existed. 

The next up on my reading of the 306 greatest books is The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov. This book can be found on the Sybervision Book List.


Chekhov is definitely a subtle and complex writer. Often, when you finish reading one of his plays or short stories you are left with a feeling that you had missed a ton of hidden messages within the story. He is an expert at layering story elements, particularly with his plays, where there are whole depths of meanings just waiting to be explored. The Cherry Orchard is one of his few plays, but likely the best writing that he had done. The main part of the plot follows a mother who returns to her farm after her son had drowned and continues as she slowly loses that farm. A complex, emotionally-deep story about coping with loss. Although many of Chekhov's stories can be underwhelming, I find his plays are usually on the better end of his range and I definitely recommend this one.