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Starred Review. Edited by professors Brunello and Lencek, this writing primer makes a thorough guide to the spare, realist style that made Chekhov one of the world's greatest playwrights and short story writers. Drawing specific (and more oblique) literary advice from Chekhov's correspondence and his experimental travel memoir The Island of Sakhalin (perhaps his most ambitious and personal project), the editors develop an insightful, practical outline of Chekhov's literary approach. Following Lencek's intelligent introduction, advice is helpfully broken down by topic, covering general questions of audience, subject and approach ("Witness, Don't Judge"); specific issues like plot, character and emotion ("Knowing How to Suffer"); observation and reporting ("Study the Graffiti"); and "the actual writing" ("Tell Stories as They Were Told"). Both Chekhov's correspondence and his excerpts prove interesting and illustrative, especially the work from Sakhalin that cast him as writer, ethnographer, tourist and census-taker. Including a "who's who" of Chekhov's pen pals and suggestion for further reading, this is a useful and smart guide for writers of all kinds.
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Augusta Metro Spirit, 11/19/08
“A masterpiece of writing advice…a perfect companion for writers at any stage of the craft.”
The Writer, 2/09
“What’s new and particularly noteworthy in this volume is a focus on lessons to be learned from a close reading of The Island of Sakhalin.”
A lot of great excerpts from Chekhov's letter's, journals and plays. The authors have done the research, reading thru thousands of Chekhov's personal documents to get to the heart... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Keira Kelly
The premise of this book is amazing. Let's take the advice of a great author about how to write and then follow his example in his own writings, in order to become better... Read morePublished on April 14, 2010 by James C. Lindsay
As Lena Lencek, co-editor of HOW TO WRITE LIKE CHEKHOV, puts it, "In the end, the advice he gives his fellow writers comes from the 'felt fact' of his daily, minute-to-minute... Read morePublished on December 15, 2008 by Gideon Bosker