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The Essential Tales of Chekhov (original 1999; edition 1999)
by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, Richard Ford (Editor), Constance Garnett (Translator)
The Essential Tales of Chekhov by Anton Chekhov (1999)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060956569, Paperback)Anton Chekhov is best known as a playwright, the author of such classics as Uncle Vanya, The Cherry Orchard, and Three Sisters, but he was also an accomplished short-story writer. The Essential Tales of Chekhov does not pretend to be a comprehensive collection of all his fiction, but it does lay claim to be the best. Reading these stories, one immediately notices how modern they feel. As Richard Ford writes in his introduction, "His meticulous anatomies of complicated human impulse and response, his view of what's funny and poignant, his clear-eyed observance of life as lived--all somehow matches our experience." Chekhov is a master of the telling detail, the acute psychological insight. In "After the Theatre" he captures perfectly the morbid, romantic imagination of a 16-year-old girl: "To be unloved and unhappy--how interesting that was." In "An Anonymous Story" he quickly limns the sum of one of his characters in a single image: "He was a man with the manners of a lizard. He did not walk, but, as it were, crept along with tiny steps, squirming and sniggering, and when he laughed he showed his teeth." We will see much more of this character, but we've already learned everything essential about him.
No two Chekhov stories are alike, but they do share some common traits: though often somber, they are seldom despairing and even his most serious work is leavened by his trademark wit. Only 20 of the more than 220 tales that he wrote are included in this collection, but they provide an excellent introduction to those who have not yet had the pleasure of reading him. And for those who know and love Chekhov, The Essential Tales of Chekhov is a loving reminder of why. --Alix Wilber
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:47:57 -0400)
An anthology by a 19th century Russian master, comprising twenty tales. They range from The Lady with the Dog, an illicit love affair between two married people, to A Blunder, in which parents eavesdrop as a suitor proposes to their daughter.
(summary from another edition)
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