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The Wife and other stories [Tales of Tchehov vol. V]

av Anton Chekhov

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MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
1021198,720 (3.95)3
CONTENTS The Wife Difficult People The Grasshopper A Dreary Story The Privy Councillor The Man in a Case Gooseberries About Love The Lottery Ticket

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[close] I have been wanting to start reading Chekhov' short stories for quite some time. I was finally prompted to start when Francine Prose, in her excellent book "Reading Like a Writer," said that Chekhov's short stories were her favorite and that all aspiring writers should read them. She talked a lot about his stories, especially about their well-crafted language, character descriptions, and how they broke common rules.

Maybe my expectations were too high, but I was a little disappointed. I do admire Chekhov's character description and his description of nature, particularly the Russian landscape. For me, though, a lot of his plots fell short. Some of the stories had no real beginning and no real ending. Rather they were inter-connected parts of other stories that were included in the volume, and read like a novel told in serials, with one short story picking up where another left off. It was interesting to read about the day in the life of a 19th-century Russian official, and to read his philosophical meanderings related to peasantry and education and the like, but some of the stories consisted of only that, and after awhile parts of them became rather redundant and boring. To me Tolstoi's Ana Karenina, which I have been reading off and on for some time (way too long!) now, contains everything that most of these short stories did, and more, because it sticks with the same engaging characters and has a moving plot, even if some of it gets bogged down with the same philosophical meanderings. Perhaps if I hadn't read Tolstoi or Dostoevsky I would have really loved Chekhov, I'm not sure. At this point in time, though, although I liked him, I didn't like him as much as those two authors.

I liked the stories contained in the beginning of this book more than the stories at the end; perhaps it was due to the redundancy factor. My favorite was "The Grasshopper," which was about a young woman who was married to a rather boring, older doctor, but her heart was with the theater and with the dramatic and famous people she hung out with. Eventually she has an affair and leaves her husband, and in many way this is a timeless story about relationships, that could have been told yesterday as much as it could have been told in Chekhov's time. The story seemed so realistic that I did some research into Chekhov's life and found that he married an actress named Olga (which is the name of the wife in the story) and that there were many other similarities between his life with her and the life of the couple in the story.

I will read more short stories by Chekhov and thus far my conclusion is that I really enjoy some of them and I don't really enjoy others. So it may be one of those experiences where I read everything to find the gems. I did enjoy this book although I didn't love it as much as I was expecting to, and I give it 3.5 stars.

For more book reviews and posts of interest to readers and writers, please visit my blog, Voracia: Goddess of Words. ( )
  voracia | May 22, 2010 |
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Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Anton Chekhovprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Garnett, ConstanceÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat

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CONTENTS The Wife Difficult People The Grasshopper A Dreary Story The Privy Councillor The Man in a Case Gooseberries About Love The Lottery Ticket

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