Galya Ganskaya (Bunin)

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Galya Ganskaya
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: An artist and a sailor reminisce about a young woman they both knew in their youth, who tragically took her own life after a romantic encounter with the artist.

An artist and an ex-sailor were reminiscing about their past in a Parisian café.

The Artist — narrator; former lover of the young woman; passionate, nostalgic, regretful.
The Sailor — friend of the artist; listener of the story; curious, empathetic.

The artist began to recall his memories of a girl named Galya Ganskaya, whom he had known since his adolescence.

Galya Ganskaya — young woman from Odessa; passionate, naive, tragic.

Galya was the daughter of a wealthy but unsuccessful artist, and she had grown up without a mother. The artist remembered how he and his friends used to visit Galya's father every Sunday, and how they were all captivated by Galya's charm and beauty.

One day, the artist ran into Galya in the city and invited her to his studio. They shared a passionate moment, but the artist stopped short of taking things further.

‘Ah, what a good-for-nothing you are. What a good-for-nothing.’

After that, he didn't see Galya for a year. When they met again, Galya was even more beautiful and mature. They rekindled their relationship, but the artist was planning to leave for Italy. When Galya found out, she was devastated and poisoned herself.

‘I wanted to shoot myself,’ the artist said quietly after a pause, filling his pipe. ‘I almost went out of my mind…’

The artist was filled with regret and guilt over her death.