The Shooting Party by Anton Chekhov takes place over the course of a summer in and around the sleepy town of Tenevo, Russia. The main narrator, Sergey Petrovich Zinovyev, is an investigating magistrate. He's young and handsome, but he's also dismissive, careless, disdainful, and often cruel to his supposed friends. The dissolute, weak-minded and often drunk Count Karneyev is one of those friends, as is Urbenin, the Count's older, stolid estate manager. Not much happens besides some drunken revelry until the three men meet Olenka, the pretty forester's daughter, walking in the woods one day.
"...a girl of about nineteen, with beautiful fair hair, kind blue eyes and long curls. ... Poor little fair-haired girl! Did I imagine for one moment on that serenest of May nights, that she would later become the heroine of my troubled novel?"That's when things change, with a sudden marriage, an adulterous affair (or two), and murder. There's even a plot twist at the end. Disenchantment, with life, with love, and even with one's self, seems to be the main theme of this novel. Chekhov writes well, but overall, this is a pretty depressing story. And none of the characters are very likable. Needless to say, this one won't make my favorite reads of 2019 list. But it does count as my Classic in Translation for Karen's Back to the Classics Challenge which makes me happy.