Ah, childhood. A time of blissful innocence, "sweet pears and cakes." Not so fast. As Chekhov realistically observes, children are exposed to a wide range of experiences and emotions. Usually by adults, who long ago forgot what it was like to be a child. The children in this collection of stories range from two to nine years old, but they see it all, from life to death, from love to duplicity. By showing us these things through the eyes of children, Chekhov, the master story-teller, holds up a mirror to our own lives. This collection includes the following stories: "Grisha", "An Incident", "The Cook's Wedding", "A Trifling Occurrence", and "Vanka".
These are all fine stories, but not among my favorite Chekhov shorts. The narration is OK but does not add much to the stories. Four of these stories are childhood slices of life but seem to lack the darker humor I especially enjoy in Chekhov. A Trifling Occurrence was my favorite of the five and is the only one that feels like good Chekhov, yet even that is not a personal favorite. Overall I would only recommend this collection if you really want to get a taste of this particular Chekhov sub-sub-genre.
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