Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good collection of stories, 29 April 2006
This review is from: The Kiss and Other Stories (Classics) (Mass Market Paperback)
This collection was written late in Chekhov's life, and include works that helped to cement his reputation of Russia's greatest naturalist storywriter. He already had a reputation as something of a renegade, falling foul of the censors with his less than positive portrayal of Russian people. The stories in this book exemplify his attitude towards Russia and its people, adopting a position of paternal disappointment with his fellow countrymen.

The ten stories are all fairly short, and are largely lacking in plot. They are psychological snapshots of the main characters, portraits of Russian stereotypes much in the tradition of Nineteenth Century Russian literature. The reading isn't always easy. Chekhov's views of peasants as drunks and criminals, or the trivial obsessions of the middle classes, are almost wholly negative, and the characters in his stories are often lost in their own pettiness. However, the portraits are so well observed, so believable, that the stories are compulsive reading. Chekhov has a fantastic eye for detail when it comes to human behaviour, and this collection is full of fascinating, detailed observations. 'The Kiss' is perhaps not for everyone, but it is an excellent collection of short stories nonetheless.
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