This book is not available in our subscription service
This book is not yet available in our subscription service due to
restrictions in our agreements with the publisher. We hope to be able
to offer this title in our subscription service as soon as possible. In the meantime you can purchase this book individually.
If any writer can be said to have invented the modern short story, it is Anton Chekhov. It is not just that Chekhov democratized this art form; more than that, he changed the thrust of short fiction from relating to revealing. And what marvelous and unbearable things are revealed in these Forty Stories. The abashed happiness of a woman in the presence of the husband who abandoned her years before. The obsequious terror of the official who accidentally sneezes on a general. The poignant astonishment of an aging Don Juan overtaken by love. Spanning the entirety of Chekhov's career and including such masterpieces as "Surgery," "The Huntsman," "Anyuta," "Sleepyhead," "The Lady With the Pet Dog," and "The Bishop," this collection manages to be amusing, dazzling, and supremely moving—often within a single page.read more
Checkhov is, of course, a master storyteller, and the worlds he creates are fascinating and complex. The bleakness of the landscape in all of them, though, is crushing. One comes away with the impression of a late nineteenth-century Russia that is dark, cold, drunk, dirty, emotionally starved and straitened, rigidly socially classified, and on the verge of something, anything - and of course, it was - like a teenager waiting for her life to start. Despite this, Checkhov is very, very, drily funny, mocking his characters even as he paints them a sympathetic creatures. The work itself is brilliant, but the reading is not altogether enjoyable. Not for reading when you yourself are feeling bleak, however black your sense of humor might be. Checkhov's women, also, tend to irritate, and feel much less real, much less three-dimensional, than his men. They are often flighty, un-self-aware, ridiculous, capricious, clinging, dependent, and melodramatic, which becomes tiresome. Payne's introduction to the Vintage Classics translation is enlightening, but it's so loaded with devotional praise of Checkhov that I was surprised to discover these caricatures inhabiting the same space as his legitimately brilliant characters. It doesn't make the stories not worth reading, but it does take away from the enjoyment one might otherwise experience.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.