Zoyka and Valeria (Bunin)

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Zoyka and Valeria
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A medical student formed close relationships with two women in a family he stayed with one summer, causing emotional turmoil and leading him to make a desperate decision.

George Levitsky was a medical student studying under Dr. Danilevsky in Moscow, Russia. He often spent time with the Danilevskys, forming a close bond with the family. Levitsky had a tendency to form attachments with families he visited, often becoming an integral part of their household. At the Danilevskys, he found peculiar affection towards Danilevsky's daughter Zoyka.

Georges Levitsky — medical student guest; straightforward, kind, and taciturn with a secret susceptibility to love.

One summer, Valeria Ostrogradskaya, a cousin of Dr. Danilevsky, visited the summer estate. Levitsky, who went to pick up Valeria from the station, suddenly fell in love with her.

Valeria Ostrogradskaya — strong, well-formed beauty with a hot-tempered and fastidious demeanor.

This affection wasn't reciprocated by Valeria as she started developing feelings for another man, Dr. Titov. This quick rejection disheartened Levitsky, who expressed his feelings of betrayal and heartache.

Why do you torment me so terribly, to what end?... Yes, why and to what end? To what end did you...

Zoyka, who observed the happenings, used Levitsky's vulnerable state to trick him into a bizarre situation that left Levitsky feeling guilty. Levitsky, one evening, encountered Valeria alone and they shared an intimate moment.

Kiss me here for the last time…

This encounter left Levitsky devastated and he decided to leave the house. Suffering from his heartbreak, Levitsky rode his bicycle to the railway station in the pre-dawn darkness, planning to catch the next train out of the town.