When terrible things happen in a Chekhov story, it isn’t because one of the characters is a bad seed. It is often because of the characters’ inability to extend to each other the kind of compassion that would force them outside of their own concerns.
With a little help from Chekhov, perhaps 2014 can be the year that we all show a little generosity.
A novelist’s work is often a strategy (I don’t mean the author need be aware of this) for dealing with some personal dilemma.
Tim Parks investigates the idea of “writing to death”