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
Ninochka – A Love Story
A Cure for Drinking
The Jailer Jailed
The Dance Pianist
The Milksop
Marriage in Ten or Fifteen Years
In Spring
The Kiss
The Father
In Exile
Three Years
The House with the Mansard
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.