Catherine Browder’s Now We Can All Go Home gives lovers of Chekhov’s plays the opportunity to follow some of his beloved characters home after the curtain comes down. In “A Visitor from Kharkóv,” based on Uncle Vanya, Yelena meets a man who puts her longings for Astrov to flight. “Now We can All Go Home” has Irina of The Three Sisters needing to make a new, independent life for herself after her fiancé is killed in a senseless duel. The final story, “Our Side of the Lake,” based on The Seagull, takes place after Kostya has committed suicide, leaving everyone on the estate trying to reevaluate their relationship to him and to each other.
Browder succeeds admirably in capturing the nuances of Russian life as portrayed by Chekhov, and the depth of her understanding of the great playwright’s characters makes her visions of their futures seem inevitable.
The author of three previous fiction collections, the well-traveled Browder is also a playwright and actress who has held an NEA Fellowship in fiction. She has studied at the University of Michigan, the Iowa Writers Workshop, and the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where she also taught. Her work has appeared in several prestigious literary journals.
Her experiment—to allow Chekhov’s characters to live and love long after the theater has gone dark—has resulted in a thoroughly satisfying collection that is a worthy homage to the great Russian playwright.
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