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Selected Stories of Anton Chekhov

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  32,801 ratings  ·  788 reviews
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 t
Paperback, 467 pages
Published October 31st 2000 by Modern Library (first published 1903)
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4.35  · 
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 ·  32,801 ratings  ·  788 reviews

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J.G. Keely
May 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
There is a vein of dull misery running through much of modern realism. It is not even tragedy, because tragedy requires that the person be suffering as a result of their actions, and that they be emotionally complex enough to understand what is happening to them, and to feel the whole of that pain.

These stories of misery have none of that, they are tales of the ignorant, of the emotionally stunted, who bumble into one stupidity after another, never realizing why or what it means. Is there a cert
Jan 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 collection...
Captivating !
Enthralling !
Bewitching !
Vit Babenco
Oct 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 rumple
La Petite Américaine
Jul 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Is Your Brain Bigger than a Bolt? Yes? Read This.
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)
Jan 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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. 6

The 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 pe
Inderjit Sanghera
Jun 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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, Conr ...more
Aug 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Yes, I mostly read this book because Francine Prose told me to in Reading Like a Writer; but also because I had heard from multiple people that Chekhov is the shit and needs to be read by everyone.

Having finished this collection of stories, I can wholeheartedly concur. There's nothing especially earth-shattering or revelatory about these stories - for the most part, each one is about ordinary people living ordinary lives and having ordinary experiences. There's nothing very special going on wit
Sep 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Irony befuddles me. I've looked up the definition, puzzled over it and read differing opinions over whether Alanis Morissette's 'Ironic' contains examples of irony, but I still feel in the dark. Maybe that's the real irony.

But that's a whole other essay. I bring this up because I recently dove into the short stories of Anton Chekhov and find myself similarly befuddled by Chekhov's Gun, a literary idea regarding how to set up a story and pay off what you set up. Chekhov mentioned the concept mul
Elie F
Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: russian
Chekhov wrote in a period of rapid social change and turmoil: from the serf emancipation of 1860s to the revolution of 1905. Nonetheless, his short stories are tranquil, peaceful, and nuanced. In the dullness of a gentry's countryside estate or a rural factory, life's misery evolve, and unhappy people bear their burden silently: drunkenness, idleness, jealousy, peasants' poverty, gentry's nostalgia and indifference. But still, an ephemeral revelation of life's meaning and eternal salvation might ...more
Aug 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This collection of thirty stories by the Russian dramatist and short story master is a fine career sample, beginning with early sketches and including major stories often anthologized such as “Ward No. 6” and “The Lady with the Little Dog.” His subjects are doctors, peasants, petty officials, ferrymen, monks, nannies, soldiers, patients, artists, society folks. His topics are as broad—fidelity, integrity, meaning, duty, survival, faith, class. There are stories about a medical student and an art ...more
May 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"At the door of every contented, happy 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 ...more
Dec 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Selected Stories by Anton Chekov (1860-1904)

These short stories seem to me like a summary of the Russian nineteenth-century literature.

In the most extreme climate of snow and ice, torrential rain and flooding, knee-deep mud and dirt on every road, Russia was not a country for an easy living.

In his concentrated way, using a minimum of words, Chekov expresses all essential characteristics of country life.

Across all these short novels, we will meet, the wealthy and fat landowners and their descen
Aug 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Astonishing. Chekhov clearly understands how people work, and how to express it. I need to sit and think a while to process this further.
Leo Robertson
Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
WOW. These are total stories. Chekhov truly is a courageous champion of the unsaid, the stories of the untold lives of ordinary folk, of social justice.

Who knew that grey language could evoke so many emotions, transcend so many genres, and bite and rage and ironically smirk after so many years?? From horror stories like Sleepy and Ward No. 6 to the terror, humour and tedium of A Boring Story, the apparent celebration of madness in The Black Monk, the revelation of the sea, nay, the universe’s(!)
Roy Lotz
It is a difficult prospect to review a collection of short stories. There isn’t an overarching plot to grab hold of, nor, perhaps, even a consistent theme-group. One is reduced to arranging scatterd bits and pieces of reflections and reactions, which—if all goes well—will add up to some sort of general impression.

My general impression of Chekhov is that he is a great artist; he is a master in every sense of the word.

Writing a good short story is a delicate art. Unlike the writer of a novel, the
S Prakash
Jun 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
“Remove everything that has no relevance to the story. If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it's not going to be fired, it shouldn't be hanging there.” This famous principle of Chekov on writing and which he had followed in earnest has produced some of the finest, crisp short stories.

His stories are a reflection on the Russian society in the late nineteenth century; moral conflicts of individuals;
Usman Hickmath
Mar 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If a writer who told the stories of ordinary people like you and me, using only few pages, in the 1800s can make us read him in this day and age, he is a true master.

Whenever you feel like you are stuck in the world of fantasies, super natural stories and average romance novels, go to Chekhov. He will bring you back to reality.

Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Simply amazing !!
Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Biting, funny and entertaining stories about ordinary people.
Nov 29, 2010 marked it as sampled-a-few
I'm generally good about not being too starstruck by literary reputation, and I feel pretty confident that I can bravely approach the big guns and judge them based on my personal view of their merits. But with Chekhov, for some reason, I find myself cowed. Like, I'm just not really sure what I think of him and I kind of have this stupid feeling like I want someone to tell me. You know, it's CHEKHOV, right? I should have some big RESPONSE. I should love him! Or loathe him! I need to think somethi ...more
Mar 12, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
(Wordsworth Classics, 1995)

I thought I would enjoy this book more than I actually did. A good amount
of these stories left me cold, baffled, or just not very satisfied.

There were a few I liked, especially "The Night Before Easter."

Novel or not, there's a lot to be learned from Chekhov's simple presentation of complex characters and his descriptive scenes. And some parts were very funny, even if the whole wasn't amazing.

Alok Mishra
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shall I call it merely amazing? Shall I call it only wonderful? Not at all! The collection is more than words can say and an intellectual can review! I am sure anyone who loves reading shorter format of fiction will admire Chekhov's style of writing and telling the tales!
David Fleming
The Short Stories of Anton Chekhov

Of course, any fan/writer/enthusiast of the short story should read this book! I would recommend reading this in conjunction with either Stephen King's Graveyard Shift or Edgar Allan Poe's collected works.

That probably sounds like a strange recommendation but Anton Chekhov was a very caring writer that, as a medical doctor, obviously had access to both the upper and lower rungs of society. His emphasis is more on the broad sweep of society and on emotion. Both
It's Chekhov, 'nuff said.
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had never read anything by Chekhov before. He's most famous for his plays and I never read those either - I believe plays must be experienced in the theatre and not read at home (I don't like the theatre at all). This is an old volume of some of his shorter works, translated into Greek in the late 60s. OK, what can I write here? The man was a genius and it's a real literary disaster we lost him so young - he died of TB aged 44.

I particularly loved the one novel in this collection, Ένα παιδάκι
Cátia Vieira
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first Chekhov ever. I really liked this short story collection! I have a thicker book at home but my brother gifted me this shorter edition a while back so I decided to try this one first!

I am obsessed with Russian literature so I am rarely disappointed by a Russian author (*thinking about Gogol*). These short stories have themes in common such as sickness and despair. All of his characters are real, fascinating and universal. And, then, there’s the writing style that is formidable and super
Harsha Varma
Chekhov's style is really unique. The stories are natural, most don't have a formal plot, there are no teachings or morals to be drawn. Beginnings and endings are often irrelevant. Most of the stories don't end, just like real life. What strikes you is the incredible brevity with which he strikes, every detail is vital to the story.

Consider, At Christmas time. It's probably 5 pages long. It's about an old couple in a village, who haven't talked to their daughter since she moved to the city afte
Aug 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So much to learn from the creator, literally, of the modern short story--and its arc.

And so worth it writers and readers to remember this: “‘Who will read me, who will care?’ It does not help the work to be done, that work already completed is surrounded by silence and indifference—if it is published at all. Few books ever have the attention of a review—good or bad. Fewer stay longer than a few weeks on bookstore shelves, if they get there at all. … ‘Works of art’ (or at least books, stories, p
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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
“They say philosophers and wise men are indifferent. Wrong. Indifference is a paralysis of the soul, a premature death.” 91 likes
“Only one who loves can remember so well.” 87 likes
More quotes…