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Just finished the final story of this collection This guy is Awesome, a master short story writer.I fell in love with his stories almost every time.His stories are so simple yet so powerful in impact that I have decided to write a review for each of his stories separately For now, three words for this collectionCaptivating Enthralling Bewitching To give serious aid to forty outpatients between morning and dinnertime was physically impossible, which meant, willy nilly, that it was all a deceit During the fiscal year twelve thousand outpatients were received, which meant, simply speaking, that twelve thousand people were deceived from Ward No 6The stories in this collection translated by Pevear and Volokhonsky were written in the period 1883 to 1903 They appear to be set in the present that is, they are tales of Russia and her people as things were in the last few decades of the 1800s Chekhov s overall view of life, as revealed in the stories, is that the lot of man and woman is an unhappy one This is true whether one is a peasant or a well off doctor, bishop, aristocrat, land owner, student whatever The circumstances differ, the goods and evils of life vary from case to case, the balance figures differently from one man or woman to the next, but ultimately if we ask of each life was it worth living , Chekhov seems to say perhaps, very marginally but at any rate that s all we have, so we soldier on, taking the bitter with the sour, and accepting when we analyze things properly , that whether we have tried to do good to our fellow men or the opposite, the effect is pretty much the same.Several stories from the last few years of the 19th century have very similar themes, contrasting the happy, well off few to the miserable many The way the stories play out, we are given pause to consider if the happy few perhaps in the end are the worst off, at least considered from the points of view that Chekhov develops Such are, for example, the three stories written in 1898 The Man In A Case , Gooseberries and A Medical Case In some stories example, The Fiancee the protagonist appears to have averted disaster and to be headed for a fortunate future But this has only been accomplished by, pretty much unwittingly, destroying the lives of others.Like any selection of short stories by a good author, they are uneven , which really means littlethan some affected methan others One which was perhaps very skillfully written, even though I was ultimately bored by it, was a story called A Boring Story At over 60 pages, it was just about the longest story in the book, and was boring at least to me.I thought some of the best stories were Sleepy , Gusev , Peasant Women , Ward No 6 , The Black Monk and At Christmastime Of these, Sleepy struck me as one of the most horrifying stories I have ever read, all six pages of it Ward No 6 , a much longer story at over 50 pages, is a magnificent tale of the way in which two good men, through no fault of their own, can be dealt shockingly bad hands by life The Black Monk is an astounding story that in my opinion fully deserves the description of magical realism At Christmastime another only six pages long is wrenchingly sad, and the fact that it is an utterly common place and completely believable story is what rescues it from being simply maudlin.Chekhov is certainly not the only author to write short stories which express a basically pessimistic attitude about the human condition, in fact I would say that most short stories by good authors aredown beat than otherwise But Chekhov is a master story teller, and even if his outlook is not uniquely his own, the craftsmanship of the stories is.Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys good short fiction Previous review The Valley of BonesNext review Blue at the MizzenOlder review The Whistling SeasonPrevious library review The Hedgehog and the Fox BerlinNext library review Complete Poems of Anna Akhmatova There are thirty four stories by the master in this volume and I might write about every single one in the book they re all like pearls some just a little bit bigger and some just a little bit smaller Vanka Zhukov, a nine year old boy, sent three months earlier to be apprenticed to the shoemaker Aliakhin, did not go to bed on Christmas eve He waited till master and apprentices went to church, then took a bottle of ink and a pen with a rusty nib from the master s cupboard, spread out a rumpled sheet of paper in front of him, and began to write Before tracing the first letter, he looked fearfully several times at the doors and windows, cast a sidelong glance at the dark icon, surrounded on both sides by long shelves of shoe lasts, and heaved a choking sigh The paper lay on a bench, and he himself knelt down by the bench Dear grandpa, Konstantin Makarych he wrote So I m writing you a letter I wish you a Merry Christmas and all good things from the Lord God I have no father or mother, you are the only one I have left The stories are sad and they are funny They are full of laughter and they are full of tears And yesterday they gave me what for The master dragged me out to the yard by the hair and thrashed me with a belt, because I was rocking their baby in the cradle and accidentally fell asleep And last week the mistress told me to clean a herring, and I started with the tail, so she took the herring and began shoving its head into my mug The tales are sweet and they are bitter The tales are bittersweet The compassion is blended with irony and misery is mixed with hilarity In the evening, while we were having tea, the cook served a full plate of gooseberries They weren t bought, they were his own gooseberries, the first picked since the bushes were planted Nikolai Ivanych laughed and gazed silently at the gooseberries for a moment with tears in his eyes he couldn t speak for excitement then he put one berry in his mouth, glanced at me with the triumph of a child who has finally gotten his favorite toy Humans are quite different some wish for the stars in their pockets and for some a plateful of gooseberries is enough
I m not a literary critic, obviously My description of books as sucky trite trash, etc kind of make me wonder how I ever even majored in English Lit all those years ago But let me see if I can describe Chekhov in the way I ve come to understand him and his awesomeness heehee Chekhov was a doctor before he was a writer, he knew how the human body worked, he knew the human mind, and he knew what external stimulus the weather, the look in a person s eye, the placement of a strange object could have on a person s physical being and their psyche Combine this with this unmatched talent as a writer, and you ve got the kind of writer that can touch your heart, wrangle your emotions, and fuck with your mind unlike any other When I read The Lady With the Dog, I had to go sit under a tree and contemplate life for a while When I read the desire in the dialogue in The Seagull, I had to call my boyfriend I didn t know why these things would happen when I read Chekov The words were simply there on the page, no No force was making me melancholic, no one was telling me to get randy from The Seagull and call my boyfriend.No, Chekov is deeper than that It s almost like hypnosis, the descriptions, the word combinations, etc He writes one thing, but the way you will understand it and digest it mentally and physically is completely unexpected I love this guy. Rereading some stories So far those touching on bipolar illness, The Black Monk trained as a physician it seems Chekhov was familiar with the disorder and the Russian Orthodox religion, Panikhida and Easter Night A note from Richard Pevear s introduction, His familiarity with church life shows in many of his stories, and his knowledge of the services and prayers was probablyprecise than that of any other Russian writer His work is imbued with a Christian understanding of suffering The critic Leonid Grossman has described him as a probing Darwinist with the love of St Francis of Assisi for every living creature p xv The Huntsman, Death of a Clerk, A Boring Story, The Malefactor I ve read these stories in multiple iterations, starting with the thirteen volume Collected Stories of Anton Chekhov, translated by Constance Garnet, Ecco books I don t recall A Boring Story being so compelling in the Garnet translation It s a masterpiece of first person narration A distinguished professor of science, suffering from insomnia and other complaints, who believes himself to be dying yet who won t see a doctor, grows estranged from his wife and adult children, falling into an ever intensifying critique of his friends, colleagues, family, theater, bad Russian writers, good French ones, which angers him almost to fits of apoplexy to use that appropriate period word Dylan Thomas later wrote Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day Rage, rage against the dying of the light The professor robustly agrees The story grips and won t let go one feels wrung out by it. Many writers pride themselves on the beauty of their prose style Flaubert would spend days composing the perfect sentence for Madame Bovary Nabokov wrote his prose ecstatically, his vocabulary was formidable and formed a core part of his aesthetic values Proust s composition was like a flower, the sentences formed a stem upon which the petals of his metaphors were able to grow and develop Thomas Mann was concerned with weighty philosophical problems, Dostoevskii with psychological ones, Conrad with composing the perfect grammatical sentence and Joyce with redefining literature.Chekhov held aloof from all of this, his prose is simple, his vocabulary limited, his metaphors plain poppies compared to Proust s redolent roses, he does not deal with great issues, has no axe to grind, nothing particular original to say, yet his stories are as psychologically insightful as anything by Dostoevsky, his prose as poetic as anything by Flaubert, his stories as beautiful as anything by Nabokov, as original as anything by Joyce.Why Because Chekhov s stories are alive Chekhov was able to observe the beauty in the most quotidian things the fold of a dress, the reflection of the moon on a river bank, the unfettered joy of a young peasant pining after his wife Chekhov not only depicts the joys of life but it s tribulations the heartbreaking loss of a young baby, the boredom of a ride across the steppes or having to play the tedious role of the perfect hostess at your husband s birthday party Chekhov represents things as they are sometimes good, sometimes bad, yet full of hope beyond all the setbacks and pitfalls which life has to throw at you.Indeed, Chekhov as a writer can teach usabout life than any philosopher because his stories are ostensibly about living, about love for people, Chekhov s story radiate with a love for being alive , he treats people, however intolerable, cruel or kind they may be, as individuals rather than types, he never judges, merely describes, never moralises, merely sympathises and as Nabokov states, his stories which are so full of humour are infused with a imperceptible sadness Chekhov s books are sad books for humorous people that is, only a reader with a sense of humour can appreciate their sadness Nabokov, Lectures on Russian Literature THE STEPPEThe Steppe is the story of a young boy, Yegorushka s first journey away from home, to a grammar school, where he is being taken by his uncle, Kuzmichovic, and a retired local clergyman, Father Khristofor Chekhov had an eye for the pathetic, the unloved and the worthless elements of society like an alchemist he was able to transform the banal into something beautiful Not the way, for example, he describes the carriage which Yegorushka is travelling in, It rattled and squeaked to the slightest jolt to the mournful accompaniment of a pail tied to the backboard From these sounds alone the pathetic leather strips dangling from its peeling chassis one could determine its great antiquity and fitness for the scrapheap Note how Chekhov is not afraid to depict the carriage as it is dilapidated and barely usable, yet is able to imbue it with it s own individual traits, such as the pathetic leather strips and the rattles and squeaks it admits Chekhov is, however, able to build our sympathy for the carriage, it is old and pathetic but it carries on proudly nonetheless, Chekhov is a master of pathos and a person who didn t feel empathy would never be able to appreciate Chekhov.Chekhov is a master of brevity He is able to describe the psychological state of his characters via subtle notes on body language Note, for example, how Father Khristofor is described as gazing at God s world in wonderment with his small moist eyes and with a smile so broad it seemed to take the brim off his hat or of his uncle s cold, business like demeanour Chekhov s characters in effect become the sum total of their physical characteristics, Father Khristofor is a kindly old man and Kuzmichovic is obsessed with money, but Chekhov paints them as individuals, not types, as humans not mannequins dressed up as ones, andimportantly, Chekhov is able to establish that there is a secret, inaccessible region of every personality which will always remain a mystery.One of the most beautiful moments in The Steppe is the linkage between the lone poplar tree in the steppes and the beautiful Countess Dranitsky During Yegorushka s journey across the steppe he notices a lone poplar, And then a solitary poplar appears on the hill it ward hard to take one s eyes off the graceful trunk and green attire Was that beautiful tree happy Scorching heat in the summer, biting frosts and blizzards in the winter, terrifying nights in autumn when you see only pitch darkness and hear nothing but the wayward, angrily, howling wind But worst of all, you are alone, alone all your life He then sees Countess Dranitsky In the middle of the room there was a ladyship the form of a young, very beautiful buxom woman in a black dress and straw hat Before Yegorushka could make out her features, for some reason he recalled the solitary, graceful poplar he had seen on the hill that day Note how Chekhov is able to use his powers of intuition to show how this seemingly proud and beautiful young woman is lonely, that behind her beauty there lay a vulnerability which she hid from the world, but a kind of inner beauty and grace which few noticed behind the her proud outer appearance It is this kind of description which best demonstrates Chekhov s genius.Note his description of the pathetic Solomon, Now by the light of the small lamp, one one could see every detail of his smile It was extremely complex but expressed a wide variety of feelings but predominant was one of blatant contempt , and a few pages later judging from his eyes and grin, he genuinely despised and hate people, but this was so at odds with his plucked head appearance that Yegorushka construed his defiant attitude and sarcastic, supercilious expression as deliberate clowning, calculated to amuse the honoured guests Chekhov is able to take the seemingly benevolent Solomon and break him down as a rather pathetic figure, whose arrogance cannot be taken seriously because it is so at odd s with his comical and pathetic appearance Maybe Solomon is a truly arrogant person, maybe he is only pretending to be arrogant, maybe he merely lacking on confidence and try s to put on an act Chekhov does not provide no solid answers because there are none the door to Solomon s soul is forever locked away from us, but by carefully observing another person without prejudice, we can deduce much of what they choose to hide, consciously or not Chekhov teaches us to take people as they come, not to pass judgement too soon and not to take seemingly negative characteristics at face value, there is usually an underlying reason behind them.The theme of complexity and deception does not solely apply to human nature, but also to nature itself Note Yegorushka s observations on nature during his journey along the steppe To the right were dark hills which seemed to be concealing something mysterious and terrifying the far distance was as visible as by day, but now it s soft lilac hue faded, veiled by a twilight gloom in which the whole steppe was hiding. or his wonderful description of the windmill, a windmill which from the distance resembled a tiny man waving his arms , and in the distance that windmill was waving its arms again, still resembling a tiny man swinging his arms One grew weary of looking at it and it seemed to be running away from the carriage, never to be seen , the windmill still did not recede and kept up with them what a sorcerer that windmill was Chekhov s repetitious comparison of a windmill to a waving old man is able to both create a comic image of the windmill and implant an idea in our minds about what the windmill would have looked like, Chekhov s description of a windmill is also unique and original and demonstrates his talents as an observer extended beyond human nature.Chekhov, however, does not choose to sentimentalise nature and depict it in a beautiful way, nature is and could be violent, tempestuous and unforgiving as well as being a devilish trickster for example, not the violent storm which Yegorushka is caught in during his trip with Panteley, or the pseudo storm which looks like it is developing but fails to materialise Yet, beyond this, like the people who Chekhov depicts, nature has a quiet dignity, which means it is able to take all that life can throw at it and to defy it, not to conquer it, but merely to show it can exist notice his masterful use of pathetic fallacy As he looked around, Yegorushka could not make out where the strange singing was coming from But then, when he had grown used to it, he fancied the grass might be singing Through its song, the half dead, already doomed grass, plaintively and earnestly was trying to convince someone that it was guilty of no crime, that the sun had scored it without reason It insisted that it passionately wanted to live, and that it was still young and would have been beautiful but for the burning heat and drought or the wonderful description of the weak stream Limped, gaily sparkling in the sunlight and softly murmuring, as if it had imagined itself a powerful raging torrent Indeed, nature s many mysteries is a recurrent theme with The Steppe Note, for example, the shy yet observant Vasya s inspections of his surroundings Oh you darling, you beauty said Vasya only Vasya with his small, lacklustre grey eyes of his was able to see anything and he was in raptures his sight was amazingly keen so keen that the desolate brown steppe was always full of life and content for him Thanks to his keen vision, for Vasya there was another world his own special world that was inaccessible to everybody else and which was no doubt absolutely delightful it was difficult not to envy him Vasya, who to many may seem a strange and ridiculous figure to be made fun of, with his bandaged head and absurd clockwork soldier walk, had his own unique world and a love and passion for nature , the steppes which many saw as being brown and lifeless were in fact teeming with life and whilst many regarded their journey along them with indifferent boredom, for Vasya it was a thing of delight in fact, pathetic, little noticed Vasya resembles the steppes in that if you look hard enough you can see that what may seem barren and ugly is in fact full of beauty but only if you have the patience to do so.We again come back to the people who populate Chekhov s novels, the self absorbed merchants, the kindly old men Khristofor and Panteley, the corpulent Jewess with her children hiding like jewels under her duvet, the beautiful countess, the bully Dymov all of them exist as unique parts of the tapestry which makes up Chekhov s stories They are never sentimentalised, but depicted as they are, and Chekhov is able to use his talent for observation and need for brevity to show how small changes in body language represent what the inner working of the characters soul.For example, his description of the shopkeeper, His face was the picture of apathy, but every sigh seemed to be saying, You wait I ll give you what for or of Yemelyan s fear of water with his bony shoulder blades and and that swelling under his eye, stooping and clearly terrified of the water, he was a comical sight His face was stern and solemn and he looked at the water angrily, as if about to curse it for having once given him a cold when bathing in the Donets and robbing him of his voice It is this synthesis of the pathetic and the comic which endows Chekhov s stories with the power of pathos his characters are never sentimentalized but one cannot help feeling sentimental about them, from the most pathetic bumpkin to the bellicose coach driver, all of his characters are individuals and have a certain quiet dignity about them.Chekhov is not beyond self parody Consider, for example, the discussion between Kuzmichovic and Father Khristofor when they discuss the merits of education Kuzmichovic considers education as something superfluous which you forget anyway, Father Khristofor states that education is important but soon admits that he forgot everything he ever learnt because he never needed to use it.Or consider the passage when Panteley tells some absurd and repetitious fireside stories about murderous inn keepers or villagers, the narrator wonders why Panteley who has been through so much in life, has travelled around in Russia and met so many people, should turn to fanciful murder stories instead of describing his past and the people he has met for Chekhov literature should be naturalistic and should describe people as accurately as possible, artists are merely people who are able to articulate emotions which everybody experience but lack the power to articulate Yet, the case can also be made for the power of the imagination, the surreal image of the sorceress windmill or the thunder and lightning speaking to each other, the story is told, after all, from the point of view of a child and Chekhov is able to give free reign to the vibrant and often irrational imagination of a child.The novel, like life, ends ambiguously For Chekhov, there was no beginning, middle or end, his stories merely acted as snapshots in a certain period of a persons life Yegorushka eventually arrives at the village where he will be attending grammar school, but his unable to locate the residence of the lady who Yegorushka is supposed to stay with In classic Chekhov fashion he does not miss anything out, from the bemusement of the villagers when questioned about where Natasya Petrovna lives, the the tenor like bark of the ginger dog to the to the blushing Katka who meets Yegorushka For Chekhov, life s beauty lies in the quotidian, every day moments which nobody notices.When Yegorushka says goodbye to Father Khristofor he bursts into tears Yegorushka kissed his hand and burst into tears Something deep down whispered that he would never see that old man again Yegorushka realises that he will never again see the kindly Father Khristofor, that all that would remain of him would be memories, which Chekhov is able to immortalise via his fiction Yet, only a few moments later, he realises that life is for living, that it is beautiful beyond words, beautiful beyond description and mysterious beyond human comprehension He sank exhausted onto the bench, shedding bitter tears as he greeted that new, unknown life that was just beginning for him What would life be like You know, man, it doesn t matter who translates you You always sound just like yourself A casual observer And yet the casualness reveals so much about us I picked up one of your books yesterday, having a hard time concentrating on anything else The want to read was there, but nothing sounded good And then I thought, Chekhov We haven t read Chekhov in a bit Two sentences into a randomly picked story I knew it was you, and I knew I would not put down the book until it was finished And as expected, that little tingle in the middle of the chest, it was there You always bring the good stuff Whether it s a chance or was itmeeting on an overcast day, or a story with a slow build, your characters always reveal themselves, their hopes and dreams, and I sit and wait to see what will happen Usually, it s nothing big Sometimes as simple as confirming something you already thought But the simple way you reveal these things, and make it seem so effortless What were you thinking about when you wrote Gusev Just to watch you work, gah, that would have been awesome Did you draft and redraft, or did the scenes come spilling out of you From the moment I received this on Christmas morning, nearly a decade ago, I knew we were gonna get on The Death of a Government Clerk I bet Kafka read that and said, eureeka , don t you And he was good But what you could do the two and a half pages It boggles me every time But The Huntsman I will be eternally grateful to you for it, especially Just, damn Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that You rock, man In that casual, we re just talking way you had, you rock Oh And thanks &Ebook ☘ Рассказы и Повести ⇨ Richard Pevear And Larissa Volokhonsky, The Highly Acclaimed Translators Of War And Peace, Doctor Zhivago, And Anna Karenina, Which Was An Oprah Book Club Pick And Million Copy Bestseller, Bring Their Unmatched Talents To The Selected Stories Of Anton Chekhov, A Collection Of Thirty Of Chekhov S Best Tales From The Major Periods Of His Creative Life Considered By Many The Greatest Short Story Writer, Anton Chekhov Changed The Genre Itself With His Spare, Impressionistic Depictions Of Russian Life And The Human Condition From Characteristically Brief, Evocative Early Pieces Such As The Huntsman And The Tour De Force A Boring Story, To His Best Known Stories Such As The Lady With The Little Dog And His Own Personal Favorite, The Student, Chekhov S Short Fiction Possesses The Transcendent Power Of Art To Awe And Change The Reader This Monumental Edition, Expertly Translated, Is Especially Faithful To The Meaning Of Chekhov S Prose And The Unique Rhythms Of His Writing, Giving Modern Readers An Authentic Sense Of His Style And A True Understanding Of His GreatnessContains The Death Of A Clerk Small Fry The Huntsman The Malefactor Panikhida Anyuta Easter Night Vanka Sleepy A Boring Story Gusev Peasant Women The Fidget In Exile Ward NoThe Black Monk Rothschild S Fiddle The Student Anna On The Neck The House With The Mezzanine The Man In A Case Gooseberries A Medical Case The Darling On Official Business The Lady With The Little Dog At Christmastime In The Ravine The Bishop The Fiance E I want to write a review and I don t know where to start.This is what Chekhov does to me Anton Chekhov leaves me stupefied with his brilliance with words and descriptions He can paint a landscape of an entire Russian circumstance along with their characters with their emotions written bare on their faces concisely and to the point like a surgeon The first few stories in this book added date wise seemed incomprehensible and frivolous but as I went on the stories seemed to grow on me and the maturity of the content and the story development can be seen clearly Although written a century ago the observations and his thoughts transcends time and resonates with mine I came to an understanding that I should expect less of the plot andof the observations made and it all boils down to the fact that life may sum up to be a tragic experience and it may seem that you have barely scratched the surface of life but we must go on His writings, his opinions expressed through his characters bring out your own thoughts you must have never concretely cogitated on and expresses it amidst the situation in his stories with an opulent prose He is not giving you anything new and yet he is effective and I don t know how many authors can pull this thing off with such consummate grace His thoughts on modern literature From A Boring Story All modern literature seems to me not literature but some sort of handicraft, which exists only as to be encouraged, though one is reluctant to use its products Even the best products of handicraft cannot be remarkable and cannot be praised without a but On the importance of reasoning Ward no 6 Everything in this world is insignificant and uninteresting except the higher spiritual manifestations of human reason Reason draws a sharp distinction between animal and man, hints at the divinity of the latter, and for him, to a certain degree, even takes the place of immortality, which does not exist Hence reason is the only possible source of pleasure.We, however, neither see or hear any reason around us which means we are deprived of pleasure True, we have books, but that is not all the same as live conversation and intercourse If you will permit me a not entirely successful comparison, books are the scores, while conversation is the singing.Ironically, I liked his longer storiesthan the shorter ones and wished he wrote full fledged novels.My favourites A Boring StoryWard No.6The Black MonkThe House With The MezzanineThe Lady With The Little DogThe Fianc eThe BishopAnd a job well done by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. Oh, I ve read lots of Chekhov in my day but usually a story here or there as opposed to coast to coast in a collection like this Pevear and Volokhonsky arrange these chronologically and choose their faves, omitting the long novella like stories.Hey, Mikey I liked it The only story I did not much enjoy was The Ravine, third from last The trouble with a collection of stories, then, is that you often look back over the titles and flat out forget what they were about unless you were taking notes If you DO remember, that has to be good So let s look at titles that still have a hold on me Gusev, which is about Russian soldiers a long way from home on a ship in the hot Pacific Ocean climes, each dying one by one One man insists he will live to see Russia again The other keeps fantasizing about snow, leading us to a wonderful snow sleigh scene where the sleigh topples and the villagers shout and laugh as our poor protagonist, in his day dream, lifts himself from the snow among barking dogs It also includes a spookily wonderful finish about a dead body being sewn up and dropped into the deep sea You, gentle reader, go down with the body A Boring Story is anything but It s longish, but reminiscent of Tolstoy s Death of Ivan Ilych as the dying protagonist dies a thousand deaths by just thinking about it On and on Excruciatingly It s called philosophy, friends, and it s no coincidence that this man is a professor I was all in Ward No 6, where the crazies go, defines that thin line between captors and captured The good doctor is bored silly by his inmate slash patients, but then one of the patients, a man with a keen eye and a good education, so intrigues the good doctor that he purposely visits said patient for regular talks Guess who the rest of the staff begins to wonder about Slippery, meet slope That s what happens when crazy people makesense than the powers that be The Student, ridiculously short, but supposedly Chekhov s personal favorite, spins around a retelling of the Biblical story of Peter, who three times denies Christ before the cock crows The student connects Biblical times to the present and is left with wonder The Darling is the ultimate tale of a lady who lives vicariously only, a lady happy only with paired with people she can be happy for How rare is that in this day and age The Lady with the Little Dog Usually translated as Lap Dog This familiar tale seemedconfidently told as the story of an affair between unhappy married man and unhappy married woman If there is one thing Chekhov trades in, it s unhappy people The Bishop Short story writer Peter Orner considers this Chekhov s best, because it examines a man in a respected position who, like many Chekhovian heroes, wonders what life s all about and what is it for In Chekhov s world, no one escapes, not even the good bishop who still hasn t found what he is looking for this is pre U2 and Bono, of course The Fianc e is straightforward Young girl gets happily engaged Young girl gets cold feet Young girl backs out with the encouragement of the one black sheep in the family, which helps her to survive all the social tumult she causes She sees the future and envisions despair Check ov Ironically, though Chekhov seems a bummer, there s no end to sudden paragraphs depicting the beauty of nature, the beauty of a time of day, the beauty of LIFE itself The moment Being here and now Who would ever trade this heaven on earth away for a second And for every dead end a desperate character reaches, there s the possibilities in new beginnings Yes Even if that new beginning is death.Nice translation Nice read Nice return to the Russkies And if you pan for gold in the mud, you will see that Chekhov hides a happy gift for you in most every outing Some nuggets are larger than others, but they are there Oh, they are there.Note For an extended quote from the story The Bishop plus some additional thoughts on how Chekhov riffs on Henry David Thoreau in a certain way, you can jump to my webpage where I link the Russian and the American oh, with an Irishman thrown in for good measure.