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Five Great Short Stories

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  554 ratings  ·  49 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."…more"The Black Monk", "The House with the Mezzanine", "The Peasants", "Gooseberries", and "The Lady with the Toy Dog."(less)

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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
Donna Petko
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
"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. ...more
Beth Cato
Mar 13, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2021, anthology, classic
I have not read Chekhov's full stories before, for all that is name is often referenced in literature. His work is highly readable, his characters realistic. Really, he writes psychological examinations of people's lives--but that said, his subject matters are not my sort of thing. These are incredibly miserable people whose lives we see in detail. ...more
Anton Grabreck
Mar 06, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes I forget if I'm having a slice of lemon meringue or a chapter of Chekhov.
Within 50 pages The Black Monk made me question my sanity and The Lady With The Toy Dog had me reevaluate my purpose and morality. Can't ask for much more.
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 Q
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. ...more
Feb 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
I especially enjoyed "The Black Monk" and "The Lady with the Toy Dog". ...more
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. ...more
Scout Who
Jul 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Sorry, but I didn't think they were all that great. ...more
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
More awesome sexy Chechkov stories.
Jim Fonseca
Five Great Short Stories by Anton Chekhov


All of these stories were written in the 1890’s so they bear the style of that era. Each has a ‘moral,’ I guess from an era when people might ask ‘what’s the moral of that story?’ I’ll focus on the morals, rather than giving away too much plot.

In Gooseberries, a harried urban man doing clerical work dreams of an estate in the country where he can grow gooseberries. He eventually is able to retire and fulfill his dream. He comes to realize, in effect, ‘why
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
Jim Varley
Nov 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
I had never read any Chekhov prior to the short stories in this book and I have to say they are not like any short stories I have ever read. In each story Chekhov builds an interesting world that you become engaged in and then the story just seems to stop in midair. Like real life, there is no pretty resolution - just preparation for another chapter where you cannot see what is going to happen. The other thing this author brings to life in his short story “The Peasants”, is just how rough peasan ...more
May 14, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can’t exactly recall why The Lady with the Toy Dog was my favorite short story ever since I came upon it during a writing course. It’s interesting actually. Perhaps back then I was utterly overcome by desire. And now, that desire translates to fear because I have already attained beyond my wildest desire. And so I resonate more strongly to the stories with deep, deliberating depressive undertones.

What a brilliant writer, moving me with various emotions.
Aug 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
Five stories, two of them truly great: “The Lady With the Dog” and “The Peasants.” I really loved the latter; much of the Chekhov I’ve read revolves around the idle rich (at resort spas or country manors), who don’t generally interest me as subject matter, but in “The Peasants” Chekhov dives deep into the gritty lives of the underclass, and without condescension.
Jacob Clelland
Feb 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
My first time reading anything by Chekhov. Good collection of stories. They seem a bit melancholy, although that could be due to a reflection of my mood. Bittersweet and definitely some good quality short stories.
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.
Gavin Brand
Feb 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This was a great little collection. I enjoyed "The Black Monk" and "Gooseberries" the best. ...more
Himali Kothari
May 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
Brilliantly vague. Depth in simplicity.
Dec 30, 2021 rated it did not like it
Clearly, I'm a philistine. But, in my opinion, books written in the late 1800s are not terribly exciting. ...more
Mar 14, 2022 rated it it was amazing
A great short stories! My favourites are The Black Monk and Gooseberry, but i really dislike The Lady With a Toy Dog!
Debra Hill
Jan 23, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just like the title says, five great short stories. How can you go wrong with a Chekhov short story?
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
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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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