Selected Stories by Anton Chekov

I bought this wee paperback book from a local second-hand bookshop which has sadly closed down now – such is the way of the world. I used to love browsing in it and almost always found at least one treasure to take home.

Anton Chekov had quite a short life, being only 44 when he died and he had no idea that people would still be reading his work over 100 years after his death. He thought his work would be read for only seven years after his death, how wrong he was! Obviously he’s better known for his plays but this book of his early short stories is well worth reading. It’s sad to think that he was already ill with the tuberculosis which eventually killed him when he was writing them.

The stories are:

The Confession
He Understood
At Sea – A Sailor’s Story
A Nincompoop
Surgery
Ninochka – A Love Story
A Cure for Drinking
The Jailer Jailed
The Dance Pianist
The Milksop
Marriage in Ten or Fifteen Years
In Spring
Agafya
The Kiss
The Father
In Exile
Three Years
The House with the Mansard
Peasants
The Darling

Some of the stories are very short indeed, just four pages or so whilst the one called Three Years is very long, I would call it a novella really as it’s ninety pages long.

Anton Chekov wrote about the lives of the peasants of Russia, the grim reality, which didn’t always go down well with those in authority but I’m glad that he gave us this peek into the lives of ordinary Russians, although it can be a bit grim, but life was grim for all ordinary people in the 1880s which is when these stories were written.

Once again, I have to say that it’s thanks to The Classics Circuit that I read this book. Until its Russian literature tour I had only read modern Russian literature, and not much of that either.

7 thoughts on “Selected Stories by Anton Chekov

  1. I have never read Russian literature although I have Anna Karenina on my shelf and my son wants me to read The Brother’s Karamazov (I got him a copy for his birthday years ago). He enjoyed it so much, he would call me everyday and tell what had happened in what he had read that day. I too absolutely love roaming around old used book stores but they are getting hard to find 🙁

    • Peggy,

      I’m supposed to be reading Anna Karenina this year but haven’t got around to it yet. I also have The Brothers Karamazov but haven’t read it, maybe we could both read it next year and see what we think of it! I did read War and Peace this year and found it a surprisingly easy read although it is so long. Sons can be quite good at suggesting things to read. I only read Protagoras and Pleno by Plato because my eldest son enjoyed it so much, and I enjoyed it too! Yes independent bookshops, new or old books, seem to be closing fast.

  2. McCall Smith gave Isobel Dalhousie a friend with a bookshop in West Linton in the book I just read. Even mentioned Derek by name! Derek is a friend of a friend of mine. They were at school together.
    Nice wee bookshop with old and new books to browse.

    • Evee,

      I’ve never even been to West Linton, that seems like the wilds of a ‘ Lothian’ to me. I went to somewhere in a Lothian before and couldn’t get over how desolate the place was! I fancy visiting a bookshop though. It’s strange that McCall Smith puts real people in his books. Towards the end of this one he has a character telling another one that he should speak to a certain lady at Bonham’s in Edinburgh – and I found myself saying to myself “I’ve spoken to her!” Quite a strange feeling really.

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