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Five Great Short Stories

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  486 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860–1904), a Russian physician, short-story writer, and playwright, wrote hundreds of stories that delved beneath the surface of Russian society, exposing the hidden motives of his characters and the ways in which prevailing social forces influenced their lives. This collection contains five of his most highly regarded stories, all from his maturi ...more
Paperback, 94 pages
Published July 1st 1990 by Dover Publications (first published 1990)
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Annalise "The Black Monk", "The House with the Mezzanine", "The Peasants", "Gooseberries", and "The Lady with the Toy Dog."

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Apr 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
“Every happy man should have someone with a little hammer at his door to knock and remind him that there are unhappy people, and that, however happy he may be, life will sooner or later show its claws, and some misfortune will befall him—illness, poverty, loss, and then no one will see or hear him, just as he now neither sees nor hears others. But there is no man with a hammer, and the happy go on living, just a little fluttered with the petty cares of every day, like an aspen tree in the wind—a ...more
Aug 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
I'm a fan of Chekhov's simple, uncluttered prose. His stories are not about dramatic, momentous life events, instead focusing on the little daily moments that cause us anxiety, joy, and reflection. I liked "The Lady with the Little Dog" for its recognition of sadness during what should otherwise be a happy time. It made me think that happiness is never the sole emotion - other commitments, the happenings of the past, and the uncertainty of the future always taint the purity of happiness. Also, i ...more
Mar 15, 2008 added it
slim & lovely for those with short attention spans or who need to read one page per cigarette - every time i read chekhov i think, "anton, why are you writing short stories? you are basically writing a play with some prose" and then some paragraph hits me with its incredibleness - the man knows how to tell a story. ...more
Apr 14, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories, 2012
"The illusion which exalts us is dearer to us than ten thousand truths." (p. 77, Gooseberries)

And read the first story, The Black Monk (that story deserves five stars, the rest, three).
Mima Flamingo
Jan 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I couldn't sleep all night after reading The Black Monk. I find Chekhov's writing light and yet so profound and frighteningly clever.
Sep 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
“The Black Monk” - ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“The House with the Mezzanine” - ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“The Peasants - ⭐️⭐️⭐️
“Gooseberries” - ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“The Lady with the Toy Dog” - ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
It's rare to find a book that can give either a lot of delight or none at all, depending on how carefully it is read. On the surface, these stories seem dreary, marked by unwarranted cruelty, untreated disease, and unrewarded hardship. But dig a little deeper, and it's as though Chekhov is inviting the reader to act as a detective, challenging them to pick up on the trails of clues that he's placed just out of sight. The ordering of sentences can allude to a character's affections before anythin ...more
Sep 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
If I could give this a higher rating, I would. There are some out there who like to hate on Chekhov... well whatever. House with the Mezzanine is in my top three favorite short stories. Lady with the Dog is amazing. These five stories are just great. Great, great.
Kallie Quist
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
my copy had a big printing error, the first 33 pages were poems by samuel oldridge or something like that. so i only got to read "gooseberries" and "lady with the toy dog" because they were the only stories in full in the book, but i wasn't very impressed with either.
Feb 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
I especially enjoyed "The Black Monk" and "The Lady with the Toy Dog".
Dec 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Odd but enjoyable short stories.
Jun 26, 2017 rated it liked it
I've yet to really enjoy Russian writers--"Crime and Punishment" was quite literally a punishment. But I liked 3 out of the 5 of these short stories, so there's that.
David Whovian
Jul 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Sorry, but I didn't think they were all that great.
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
The title is obviously a hyperbole but otherwise a very nice collection. My favorites were Peasants and The Black Monk.
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
More awesome sexy Chechkov stories.
Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
*4.25 stars.
"Hundreds of miles of deserted, monotonous, blackened steppe could not so forcibly depress the mind as a man like that, sitting and talking and showing no signs of going away" (37).
"He thought how much life takes for the insignificant or very ordinary blessings that it is able to give man in exchange" (28).
"I was filled with a sudden dread of being left alone with my inevitable dissatisfaction with myself and people..." (42).
"The other geese could also get into the garden; but these
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
They were all good. I enjoyed The Peasants the most.
Feb 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Classic Russian themes. Paragraphs of profound existential awareness that will make you weep. A quick read for anyone interested in Russian literature, without committing to the length of Tolstoy.
Lana Kamennof-sine
Apr 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Social class divisions, ignorance, love, quest for the unattainable, life well lived.
Some of the themes covered in this thought provoking, self reflective collection.
I always approach short stories with the hope that maybe this time there will be some that I really love. I'm usually disappointed. Chekhov continues the tradition.

I was willing to accept "The Black Monk" with all its weirdness as a kind of psychological study and questioning of what truly makes us happy. (It brought to mind Kafkha's "Metamorphosis.") But the subsequent stories just became increasingly hopeless.

There is always something about Russian literature that remains elusive to me. Maybe
Dayna Smith
Dec 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Five of the Russian playwright and writer's best short stories. These stories are decisive examples of the study of character, the development of the human personality, and the masterful creation of setting. These stories are intense and somewhat depressing, but that is the best part of Russian literature. A must read for the well read.
Apr 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: grad-school
Boring. Bored. Wildly unimpressed. I only pushed through to the end because I was reading it for class. I'm not going to give up on Chekov, but the stories selected in this were eh. Not sure if it's because I read them just so I could write an in class essay on them, or what the deal was. Maybe it's because so much hype is given to him my expectations were too high.
Nicole Michelle
Jul 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Love Chekhov...a brilliant and profound story teller. The only sour note of the complication was that the translate was poorly done at some parts, especially in the Peasants story - luckily it was easy enough to decipher on my own. Anyhow Chekhov is always a treat!
Jul 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Anton does not disappoint. Especially because his characters are so dismal and self-deluded: he makes me happy! Wow!!
Sara Lamers Messink
So-so; I like his plays better.
Jun 10, 2009 marked it as to-read
Shelves: own
Five Great Short Stories (Dover Thrift Editions) by Anton Chekhov (1990)
Jul 25, 2011 added it
interesting to read, but not really my thing
Sarah Dorra
Oct 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Such a fine book. Reminds me a lot of Thomas Hardy's WESSEX TALES which I had studied part of it at university and read recently.
Feb 10, 2013 marked it as to-read
I registered a book at!
Jun 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"The Lady with the Toy Dog" bored me to tears...otherwise, a five-star collection.

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Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (Russian: Антон Павлович Чехов ) was born in the small seaport of Taganrog, southern Russia, the son of a grocer. Chekhov's grandfather was a serf, who had bought his own freedom and that of his three sons in 1841. He also taught himself to read and write. Yevgenia Morozova, Chekhov's mother, was the daughter of a cloth merchant.
"When I think back on my childhood," Chekh

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