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Synopsis

Uncle Vanya is a play by the Russian playwright Anton Chekhov. It was first published in 1897 and received its Moscow première in 1899 in a production by the Moscow Art Theatre, under the direction of Konstantin Stanislavski.

The play portrays the visit of an elderly Professor and his glamorous, much younger second wife, Elena, to the rural estate that supports their urban lifestyle. Two friends, Vanya, brother of the Professors late first wife, who has long managed the estate, and Astrov, the local Doctor, both fall under Elenas spell, while bemoaning the ennui of their provincial existence. Sonya, the Professors daughter by his first wife, who has worked with Vanya to keep the estate going, meanwhile suffers from the awareness of her own lack of beauty and from her unrequited feelings for Dr. Astrov. Matters are brought to a crisis when the Professor announces his intention to sell the estate, Vanya and Sonyas home and raison dêtre, with a view to investing the proceeds to achieve a higher income for himself and his wife.

Uncle Vanya is a well constructed love story that captures so much with so little. Great tragic characters that help teach us a valuable lesson akin to the likes of Great Expectations, but with the charming sentimentality of the interpersonal relationships that could only be written by Anton Chekov. Every man should read this book before he gets married. And for those who are intimidated by Russian Literature and the works of Tolstoy, this is a good place to start. Uncle Vanya is a quick and easy read.

This was the first Chekhov work that Ive read and it was so well-constructed that I cant wait to read another. This play is a quick read loaded with symbolism and emotion. Its loaded with realism that isnt entriely pessimistic. A good choice if youre in the mood for strong writing.

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