I read this book in Latvian; it seems there must be a little different selection of stories in the English version. My book had 15 short stories. Here are my favorite ones:
“A Boring story”
A story of a dying professor’s self analysis. Chekhov doesn’t waist words in any of his stories, but still the characters in this book are so vivid and realistic. In this story the professor spends his days thinking about his famous name, which doesn’t help him any more now that he is slowly dying. The author shows the relationship between the professor, his family and his step-daughter Katia. The people who used to be his closest are now changed. He didn’t even notice when it happened, it’s like living with strangers. He shares a house with them, but is still lonely. A sad, but beautiful story.
“The Man in a Case”
Belikov is a teacher of Greek. He is hiding himself in heavy, thick clothes and wearing rubber galoshes even on the hottest days of summer. Everyone in the school, including his colleges, is afraid of him. He strictly follows all of the rules and in his opinion – what’s not allowed is strictly prohibited. He is hiding his thoughts behind a wall of never ending rules. He is like a shadow that everyone tries to avoid. The day of his funeral is considered a good day for all of his coworkers and students. They all feel relieved that no one is watching them anymore.
“The Lady with the little dog”
Gurov is a married man who loves to spend his time with other women. As fast as he gets excited and passionate about every new encounter he gets bored just as fast. He has never been in love. Then he meets Ann, the lady with the little dog. The story between them begins as usual for him and looks like it will end like that as well. Ann is also married, but she is shy and an old-fashion woman. She falls in love with Gurov, and so does he, though he doesn’t realize it at the time.
This is the most famous story of Anton Chekhov. A heartbreaking story about impossible love.
I enjoyed the book from the very first pages till the end. The author paints a perfect picture of 19th century Russia. Chekhov is one of my new favorite authors now and I will look forward to read more of his stories and plays. I can recommend this author to all those who enjoyed works of Dostoyevsky or Bulgakov.