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Five Great Short Stories

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  430 ratings  ·  35 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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3.92  · 
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 ·  430 ratings  ·  35 reviews


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Kathleen
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
Donna
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
Mari
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.
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.
Terresa
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).
Hanna
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” - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
...more
Lily
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
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.
Pragya
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.
Katherine
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
...more
Molly
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
More awesome sexy Chechkov stories.
David Whovian
Jul 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Sorry, but I didn't think they were all that great.
Shelby
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.
Heather
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
...more
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.
MK
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!
Brad
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.
Peter
Jul 25, 2011 added it
interesting to read, but not really my thing
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
The Black Monk is the only story out of the 5 in this book, that I enjoyed. The rest were blahhh.
ej cullen
Oct 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Always a pleasure to spend some hours with Anton Chekhov. For some reason, most of his characters are Russian, though.
Matthew
Jun 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"The Lady with the Toy Dog" bored me to tears...otherwise, a five-star collection.

ME
Peter Salva
Apr 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is my first look at anything by Chekhov. His writing is rather good. I particularly enjoyed the first story, "The Black Monk." I can't wait to read more of his stories.
Wil
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!!
Basak
Aug 29, 2015 rated it it was ok
Translation was really awkward at times..
Holly
Dec 20, 2015 rated it it was ok
I am happy to have read these short stories. Unfortunately, I believe Chekhov's words and feelings get lost in translation.
Alex
Jan 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Anton Chekov is a master at the art of third person omniscient fiction. The first two stories in this brief collection are my favorite and show his world view and psychological prowess the best.
Judith
Feb 10, 2013 marked it as to-read
I registered a book at BookCrossing.com!
http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/10527314
Risa
Jun 10, 2009 marked it as to-read
Shelves: own
Five Great Short Stories (Dover Thrift Editions) by Anton Chekhov (1990)
Jeffrey Bumiller
Nov 29, 2013 rated it liked it
These short stories are good, in fact, some of them are very good. I don't think any of them are great, unfortunately, but it's my fault for reading a book with such a hyperbolic title!
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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," Chekhov r
...more
“Just look at this life: the insolence and idleness of the strong, the ignorance and brutishness of the weak, impossible poverty all around us, overcrowding, degeneracy, drunkenness, hypocrisy, lies...Yet in all the houses and streets it's quiet, peaceful; of the fifty thousand people who live in town there is not one who would cry out or become loudly indignant. We see those who go to the market to buy food, eat during the day, sleep during the night, who talk their nonsense, get married, grow old, complacently drag their dead to the cemetery; but we don't see or hear those who suffer, and the horrors of life go on somewhere behind the scenes. Everything is quiet, peaceful, and only mute statistics protest: so many gone mad, so many buckets drunk, so many children dead of malnutrition... And this order is obviously necessary; obviously the happy man feels good only because the unhappy bear their burden silently, and without that silence happiness would be impossible. It's a general hypnosis. At the door of every happy, contented man somebody should stand with a little hammer, constantly tapping, to remind him that unhappy people exist, that however happy he may be, sooner or later life will show him its claws, some calamity will befall him--illness, poverty, loss--and nobody will hear or see, just as he doesn't hear or see others now. But there is nobody with a little hammer, the happy man lives on, and the petty cares of life stir him only slightly, as wind stirs an aspen--and everything is fine.” 19 likes
“Science and art,... they seek the truth and the meaning of life, they seek God, [and] the soul, and when they are harnessed to passing needs and activities,... then they only complicate and encumber life.” 5 likes
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