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The Essential Tales of Chekhov Paperback – June 20, 2000
"The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10 comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, The Lying Game. Pre-order today
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Anton Chekhov is best known as a playwright, the author of such classics as Uncle Vanya, The Cherry Orchard, and Three Sisters, but he was also an accomplished short-story writer. The Essential Tales of Chekhov does not pretend to be a comprehensive collection of all his fiction, but it does lay claim to be the best. Reading these stories, one immediately notices how modern they feel. As Richard Ford writes in his introduction, "His meticulous anatomies of complicated human impulse and response, his view of what's funny and poignant, his clear-eyed observance of life as lived--all somehow matches our experience." Chekhov is a master of the telling detail, the acute psychological insight. In "After the Theatre" he captures perfectly the morbid, romantic imagination of a 16-year-old girl: "To be unloved and unhappy--how interesting that was." In "An Anonymous Story" he quickly limns the sum of one of his characters in a single image: "He was a man with the manners of a lizard. He did not walk, but, as it were, crept along with tiny steps, squirming and sniggering, and when he laughed he showed his teeth." We will see much more of this character, but we've already learned everything essential about him.
No two Chekhov stories are alike, but they do share some common traits: though often somber, they are seldom despairing and even his most serious work is leavened by his trademark wit. Only 20 of the more than 220 tales that he wrote are included in this collection, but they provide an excellent introduction to those who have not yet had the pleasure of reading him. And for those who know and love Chekhov, The Essential Tales of Chekhov is a loving reminder of why. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Chekhov has influenced generations of fiction writers, including Ford, the editor of this splendid new collection. In his excellent introduction, Ford explores those aspects of Chekhov's writing that have contributed to the author's stature: his economic mastery in opening and closing stories, his ability to elevate everyday life through the perceptive beauty of his language, and his skillful portrayal of the moral dilemmas everyone must face. Chekhov wrote more than 200 stories; the 20 gathered here include some that have been routinely included in other anthologies, such as the melancholy tale of adultery "The Lady with the Dog," and lesser-known gems such as "The Blunder," a humorous account of overly eager parents who botch a scheme to ensnare their daughter's unsuspecting suitor. Ford's subjective criteria have resulted in a wide-ranging taste of Chekhov's genius. Highly recommended for both public and academic libraries.?Sister M. Anna Falbo, Villa Maria Coll. Lib., Buffalo, NY
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
One cannot help but agreeing with the overwhelming majority of readers and reviewers of Chekhov who find him one of the great masters and delights of Literature. His stories are celebrations of insight into the human soul and character, in all its great quirkiness. Here stories too are guides to understanding life's ironies and disappointments. Chekhov's work is filled with dreamers, and filled with obsessed characters whose ideas take them on lonely paths of their own . What makes Chekhov so special in my mind aside from this constant play and contradiction between reality and dream, is the love which he seems to have for his characters. The soul of the human being Chekhov is felt in these stories, almost as if he were a caring country physician seeking to understand and find a remedy for the strange illnesses of his beloved patients.Chekhov knows what romantic love is and of course one of his signature stories ( included here) "The Lady and the Dog" gives us a truly moving instance of it. Life and the heart lead us to where we do not necessarily want to go. The aging lecher despite himself finds himselfr impossibly in love with the Bovary-like heroine and upon their reunion in impossible love and life the story ends.
In Chekhov stories too as in life things end in the middle without resolution and with only the promise of disappointment and heartbreak to come.
For a great critical essay on Chekhov, read Nabakov's in his Lectures on Russian Literature.
Short stories before Chekhov were plot oriented and sensationalized. Enter Chekhov, the ultimate master. Now the short story is liberated, it has become more of an art of the moment, an art which reflects deep insights into the social environment of his day - our day too!
Present day short story writers with their overly descriptive styles, their lack of real characterizations, and their general ignorance to the importance of brevity and directness would do much to ponder the intricacies of Chekhov's short masterpieces.
Feelings somewhat opossed like desperation, compassion, anguish and beatitude arise every now and then along the pages, leading the reader through a vast gallery of situations and characters.
The translations here by Constance Garnett are tired and clunky and way too literal. The art of translation has evolved light years from the "word-by-word" school. To compare how much more "modern" Chekhov can sound (and Chekhov was, is, and will remain always MODERN), read Robert Payne's translations. Payne eliminates the clumsy clauses and unnecessary commas and lets the story shine through.
Ford's introduction is interesting, but note: he says NOTHING about the translations. He must know they are abominable. Personally, I have no respect for Richard Ford and Ecco Press for reprinting these. Screw the reader, right?