THE ABYSS AND OTHER STORIES - by Leonid ANDREYEV
A gripping and uncompromising collection of stories from a Russian fiction writer whose popularity ultimately eclipsed that of Maxim Gorky in his own time. His name justly deserves to rank alongside those of Feodor Dostoievsky, Leo Tolstoy and Anton Chekhov in terms of his powers with the short story genre.
"The artist takes from the life of society and the life of the individual only the inner essence in hidden form and it is his task to extract it from what he has observed." Leonid Andreyev
A Great Teller of Stories: This volume is the first in a series of anthologies of the most gripping, evocative and grittily realistic stories from this Great Russian Genius. There is no better way to introduce his work than to include an extract from his story 'The Wall' right here - "I and another leper cautiously drew near to the very wall, and looked up. From where we stood its top was not visible, but it rose straight and smooth, and as it were bisected the sky. Our half of the sky was dark grey, toned gradually into dark blue on the horizon, so that it was impossible to say where the black earth began, and where the sky ended. The dark night sighed and groaned dull and sad, crushed between the earth and the sky, and with each sigh there spluttered out from her bosom sharp hot grains of sand, which intensified the torture of our burning sores."
Main Short Stories in this Volume: The outstanding short stories that are included in this collection are - The Abyss, Little Angel, Silence, The Lie, City Life, In the Basement, The Wall, and On the Day of the Crucifixion.
Bonus Features of this Edition: Not only includes "Eight Timeless Stories" but also a short Biographical Essay on the life and work of Leonid Andreyev by Edouard d'Araille, two Portraits of the Author and a Select Bibliography of his major works.
An Extract from the Title Story: "The ABYSS: Part I - The day was already drawing towards evening when a young man and a young woman still continued their walk, conversing without pause and without paying any attention either to time or road. In front of them, on a sloping hill, rose a small forest, and through the branches of its trees one discerned a light sun-bright circle, inflamed like red coals burning, heating a trembling air and making it resemble fine gold, fiery dust.
The sun appeared to be so near and so bright that everything else apparently disappeared, and alone it remained, bathing the road in a stream of colour. Of a sudden a dazzling light began to approach them, they turned round, and at once all lay before them in perfect light and calm. At some distance, about a mile off perhaps, the purple sunset fell upon the trunk of a high pine-tree; and it stood out, burning amidst the verdure like a torch in a dark room. On the road every stone was now throwing a long black shadow, being covered with a purple veil and a golden, blood-tinged aureola. The girl's hair shone, illuminated by the rays of the setting sun. One of her thin curls was lifted up and swung by the wind like a golden spider's web.
Although now it had become dark all around, the course of their conversation was neither broken nor changed for one moment. The same free, cordial, and calm words flowed on with equal currents. Our hero and heroine were always discussing the same topics, that is - power, beauty, and immortal love, Both were still very young: the girl was not more than seventeen, the young man about four years her senior. Both wore school costumes. She was clad in a modest brown dress with black apron, and he in the beautiful uniform of the students of technology. Not only their speech, but everything about them was so young, beautiful and pure. Both were well shaped, of symmetrical stature, graceful, and awoke the idea of a zephyr. Their carriage was lofty and classic, while their fresh voices sounded happy, though one caught a melancholy cadence in them, as if a stream were murmuring on a quiet spring night when as yet all the snow had not disappeared from dark fields."
Andreyev is one of the world's greatest storytellers and this book admirably justifies this claim!