The Dacha Husband is a short satire of bourgeois married life in nineteenth century Russia, centering on a couple with a home in the country and a husband who works in the city. As the railway grew in Russia during this time, such arrangements were common. The characters in Shcheglov's little comedy are archetypes and stereotypes- the overworked, harried man and the silly, spoiled, social-climbing wife. Think of it as Madame Bovary from the husband's persepctive, but written as a comedy.
The book is broken up into several parts, including an introduction to the concept of the dacha husband, a sort of philosophical meditation on the subject and a melodrama about what happens when the couple takes a vacation to a spa and the wife encounters handsome hangers-on vying for her attention. Let's just say matrimonial bliss is not in the cards for these two. I will say that I found some of the comedy to be slightly misogynistic from time to time, determined as our narrator is to portray himself as a martyr and his wife as an ungrateful wretch. But it's supposed to be funny and for the most part it is.
|Read as part of Russo-Biblio-Extravaganza|
FTC Disclosure: I did not receive this book for review.