This is a very good and readable biography of this writer of plays and numerous short stories. The author, Rosamund Bartlett, follows Chekhov's life thematically by mainly focusing on the places associated with him, e.g. Taganrog on the Azov Sea (his youth), Moscow, St Petersburg, Sakhalin Island (a penal colony he researched), Melikhovo (his country estate), French Riviera, Crimea and the Black Forest (his death), etc.
Chekhov apparently was a prolific letter writer. Bartlett quotes extensively from his letters to reveal his inner thoughts throughout his life. Her description of Chekhov's life is objective and sympathetic, but not reverential.
The main focuses are the humble and humane aspects of his personality and his literary career. But, his exhausting activities as a medical practitioner in the countryside when he lived in Melikhovo, treating poor patients for no fee and getting involved in improvement in public health, are dealt with only briefly. (On the other hand, there is a fair amount of comments on Chekhov's dogs.) I would like to have read a little more on these aspects of the writer's life and career, but we will have to turn to other biographies about these activities.
The last chapter deals with the recent and current situation about the places and buildings associated with the writer. It appears to be rather mixed, particulalrly in the current free-wheeling capitalist era. We just hope that his legacy will be preserved for ever for later generations.
In summary, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I can confidently recommend it to those who want to better appreciate Chekhov's works which are full of pathos and insight into human conditions.