The Summer Guest: A Novel
The Summer Guest is a beautiful novel which interweaves the stories of three women. In the summer of 1888, Zinaida Lintvaryova, a young doctor recently blinded by a terminal illness, begins a journal which records her new friendship with a summer guest on her family’s property in the Ukraine–Anton Chekhov. In London in 2014, Katya, a young Russian immigrant, places great hope in the publication of Zinaida’s journal as she struggles with mysterious marital difficulties and the impending failure of her publishing business. Finally a translator in a small French village becomes enthralled by the possibility of an undiscovered novel by Chekhov that she might translate.
This novel has been termed “evocative” and “atmospheric,” and it is difficult to find better words to describe it. In particular, Zinaida and Anton’s discussions about life, death, immortality and art haunt the reader. Furthermore, Alison Anderson masterfully closes the novel by tying the three story lines together with a delightfully unexpected twist. Finally, it may further intrigue readers to know that Anderson based the Lintvaryovas and the Chekhovs on historical people, further blurring the line between reality and fiction. The Summer Guest is a delightful novel to savor this summer.