This is a fantastic collection of stories. Richard Ford, a great short story writer in his own right, has chosen well in the twenty he has selected here. Checkov was a major influence on my favorite american writer Raymond Carver, which was reason enough for me to buy this book, but if you value stories about the pleasures and hardships of life told from all angles - even from a dog's point of view in the story "Kashtanka" - you will LOVE this. Standouts for me are "The Kiss", "Kashtanka", "Grasshopper" and "Ward No. 6". Filled with emotion but told with the edge of a cold-eyed onlooker, this collection must be read.
I am currently half way through this book. these are the early stories of Chekhov, written starting from when he was in his early twenties. Chekhov displays great insight and maturity for someone so young. He makes simple observations that tell us a great deal about what it is to be human, how to deal with sorrow and mistakes, and thus helps us to understand what it takes to really be happy. As i read these short stories I can think of many modern day situations into which they translate seamlessly. This collection of stories is a timeless observation of the human condition, chekhov demonstrates as mastery that few other writers can aspire to.
I took on reading this selection of Chekhov after reading a selection of Carver's short stories.
In this collection, and this is only a small sample since he wrote hundreds, the are commmon themes that play out in several stories, chiefly among them affairs and forbidden love.
The geongraphical and time setting may be somewhat alien today, but the beauty of these stories is that they could very easily translate to a modern time and space without losing one bit their relevance or impact. The stories read easily and are not contrived or too clever for their own good. Chekhov was a great observer of the human condition and weakness, amply demonstrated in this selection of stories, conciesely and neatly described.
Chekov reminds me of the realist movement of artists that formed in the early part of the twentieth century America. He has a gift for stunning technique clothed within a simple subject. And the closer you look the more wonderful his detail becomes apparent. Kafka had this ability, though he tended to focus on the less mundane subjects that Chekov did. In this collection Chekov presents various stories of Russian life. His words and subjects still retain their vibrancy today, still as relevant as when they first appeared. He deals with faithfulness and vows, tradition and its decay and responsibility. In this he was similar to Fyodor Dostoevsky and indeed quite a few of his stories show some parallels to those slightly earlier works. Chekov had a rare gift for short stories and the ones gathered in this collection are some of his finest.
A wonderful read, my favourite being "Enemies." I would also advise any lover of fine writing and short stories to look at William Trevor, who has doubtless taken up Chekov's mantle and appears exceedingly comfortable with its fitment. Enjoy.
Richard Ford the American writer, has revisited Chekhov, as by Ford's own admission he was not mature enough to fully enjoy in his college years. He has selected a glittering selection of stories ranging from the well known to unkown, one-pagers to the more substantial Ward Number Six. The stories are sad, funny and always observational. In the chosen stories, Chekhov's characters are portrayed in an honest fashion, demonstrating their strengths and more interestingly their weaknesses. The realisation that they are making mistakes and continue to do so, is relayed in a way that makes you feel accepting of human nature.
First time I have read Chekhov - was recommended as one of best reads to do before well you know one of those! Bit strange at first but on a re-read it was what everyone says he is. These are so simple but as you read you realise you are a human with all that human beings are: jealous, angry, bitter, sad, lonely, frustrated. Chekhov manages to convey these emotions without using words. If you are confused about life, mixed up and need explanation then don't bother paying for costly listening, paraphrasing people, just read this. If you are human, look beyond the print and accept that this is what you are. Everyone should be given a copy, preferably at birth.
What can I say, amazing, beautifully translated, all of the stories are extraordinary, I love the fact that there are some of Chekhov's funny, witty stories and some more dramatic. It is amazing to see an author understanding human psychology in such a way! I love it!!!