A Russian author, playwright, and physician, Anton Chekhov is widely considered one of the best short-story writers of all time. Having influenced such writers as Ernest Hemingway, Raymond Carver, and James Joyce, Chekhov’s stories are often noted for their stream-of-consciousness style and their vast number. Raymond Carver once said, “It is not only the immense number of stories he wrote—for few, if any, writers have ever done more—it is the awesome frequency with which he produced masterpieces, stories that shrive us as well as delight and move us, that lay bare our emotions in ways only true art can accomplish.”
In The Complete Stories of Anton Chekhov, Volume 1: 1882–1885, Blackstone has compiled forty-one of Chekhov’s delightful short stories: "A Living Chattel", "Joy", "At the Barber’s", "An Enigmatic Nature", "A Classical Student", "The Death of a Government Clerk", "The Trousseau", "A Daughter of Albion", "An Inquiry", "Fat and Thin", "A Tragic Actor", "The Bird Market", "A Slander", "The Swedish Match", "Choristers", "The Album", "Minds in Ferment", "A Chameleon", "In the Graveyard", "Oysters", "The Marshal’s Widow", "Small Fry", "In an Hotel", "Boots", "Nerves", "A Country Cottage", "Malingerers", "The Fish", "Gone Astray", "The Huntsman", "A Malefactor", "The Head of the Family", "A Dead Body", "The Cook’s Wedding", "In a Strange Land", "Overdoing It", "Old Age", "Sorrow", "Oh! The Public!", "Mari d’Elle", and "The Looking-Glass".
Public Domain (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“It is not only the immense number of stories he wrote…it is the awesome frequency with which he produced masterpieces.” (Raymond Carver)
These stories are absolute gems. In each one Chekhov hilariously (and not without compassion) uncovers the absurdity of some common human foible. Anthony Heald delivers a stellar performance. His various character voices, paired with Chekhov's writing, have made me laugh out loud countless times. Thanks to both of these gentlemen for such an enjoyable listen!
One day I will learn. I always expect the Russian authors to be dry and intellectual. They always surprise me by their warmth and life. These short stories by Chekhov reveal many facets of the human character in dramatic contrast.
I have a warning though. Don't try to listen to them in long sittings. These are like candy and should only be taken a few at a time. There is too much to ponder in each story to pay attention to subsequent ones properly.
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