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Another tchek off for my reading of J Peder Zane s Top Ten Still to go James Joyce and Marcel Proust I think that ll do it for the top ten on the list Only about 300 to go after that My edition is from 1965 I just checked it s War and Peace , not Joyce I ll read that one soon It s calling me This book cover image is not the one for the 1965 edition I m reading.Finished the intro last night along with the first story Vanka pretty mournful stuff Poor Chekhov might have l Another tchek off for my reading of J Peder Zane s Top Ten Still to go James Joyce and Marcel Proust I think that ll do it for the top ten on the list Only about 300 to go after that My edition is from 1965 I just checked it s War and Peace , not Joyce I ll read that one soon It s calling me This book cover image is not the one for the 1965 edition I m reading.Finished the intro last night along with the first story Vanka pretty mournful stuff Poor Chekhov might have lived longer if he d beenserious about talking care of his health Move to Tucson, dude Another 18th 19th century literary TB victim.Read The Privy Councilor this morning I assume they ll all be winners AC has that same modernist detachment as Flaubert He doesn t say this is bad or evil or sad or funny etc , he only has to describe it Last night The Chameleon and At the Mill Short short stories Good stuff from At the Mill the miller is are Koch wannabe but the Lord knows what kind of soul you have Oh Alyosha the miller , darling, the envious have put the evil eye on you You ve been blessed in everything You re clever and handsome and you area prince among merchants, but you re not human You re unfriendly, you never smile or say a kind word, you re as pitiless as a beast They lie about you, they say that you suck people s blood, that there are evil deeds upon your soul, that with your helpers you rob passers by at night and that you are a horse thief Your mill is like an accursed place YIKES Read The Siren and Sergeant Prishibeyev last night Great stuff as always Chekhov is the king of wry and ironic Looks like he s have been a great food writer too.Read The Culprit last night Pretty funny and then a bit sad Chekhov was not a fan of the ignorant peasantry Destructive in this case But still funnyMoving along through The Culprit , Daydreams and Heartache as AC continues to mine the human condition for these brief sketches of humanness If he d lived longer he might have hit four figures in total number of stories The underlying theme here It s the sad, slow shake of the head that s life Last night An Encounter Then The Letter The Kiss The longest story so far and a classic Reminiscent of the Alice Munro quote There are times in life when something happens and then there are all the other times perhaps not totally accurate.Read The Name Day Party last night fascinating A young husband and wife absorbed in their unhappiness ignore the REAL issue and disaster ensues Middle class melodrama at its finest.Last couple of nights An Attack of Nerves an attack of reality islike it And Gusev a melancholy meditation on life, death and all the rest beautiful To call theses stories philosophical would be an understatementThe bitter irony continues with Anna on the Neck , the story of a poor girl making good and leaving the embarrassing relatives behind I s dog eat dog out there Next up In the Cart in the same bitter, resigned vein as the rest Where is happiness anyway Got back to this last night and read At Home , another bittersweet tale of the inevitability of reality and the acceptance of it Peasants is longer story, almost a chronicle of misery of the hard life of poverty Not for the squeamish or sunny siders The Man in a Shell A pithy tale of the way one chooses to live one s life and of how one s culture shapes the choices Great stuff of course Gooseberries I m pretty sure I read this before, probably in Fiction 100 Another wistful woeful tale of life s frustrations.P.381 in this edition is a wow, a must read Behind the door of every contented, happy man there ought to be someone standing with a little hammer and continually reminding him with a knock that there are unhappy people, that however happy he may be, life will sooner or later show him its claws, and trouble will come to him illness, poverty, losses, and then no one will see him or hear him, just as he neither sees nor hears others and I too would say that learning was the enemy of darkness, that education was necessary but that for the common people the three R s were sufficient for the time being Freedom is a boon, I used to say, it is as essential as air, but we must wait a while Yes, that s what I used to say, and now I ask Why must we wait Why must we wait I ask you For what reason About Love is a follow up next day sequel to Gooseberries and a great story about love The Darling about a woman who s life and happiness depends on others Risky The Lady with the Pet Dog The author returns to a pet topic Men and women and life in general spiritually emotionally speaking that is His writing is just sooo smooth and wistful At Christmas Time More hopelessness of the powerless and moneyless Vulnerability to suffering On Official Business More problems of drinking Beautiful description of fierce winter weather In the Ravine The last story turns out to be a mini novel and a whopper Devastating portrait of Mother Russia with the open question of how good a job is Mom doing for her kids Not so great as it turns out This is a portrait of a venal middle class family Be warned, as the nastiest shock of all these stories takes place here The author seems to strongly imply that the materialistic, grasping life is bereft of spiritual reward I m reminded of Things Fall Apart where the center cannot hold Without some higher authority enforcing some kind of moral ethical standards life looks pretty grim On the other hand there is beauty and serenity in this story, just not with the merchant family in the middle of it Aksinya is a grasping, lunatic, materialistic, lusty demon in the flesh.Started The Cherry Orchard last night It s the last part of the bookHeading for Act Three tonight in this semi absurdist tragi comedy What s with the orchard An icon of the past Ideal beauty to be sacrificed for the sake of solvency maybe we ll see.The fools dance while the orchard is sold to the local developer with big dreams One act to goFinished up The Cherry Orchard last night On to a few lettersAnd finally done after many weeks According to the afterword by Donald Hall it was assumed that AC would likely be forgotten a few decades after this death but the outcome was exactly the opposite Thanks to English American readers he became a cult figure to modernists Easy to see why His language at times bears the burden of awkwardness to us of its times including the translations of course but otherwise the crystal clear prose and modernist existentialist realism non romanticism of the stories is arresting Chekhov the Vermeer of writers (((Download Kindle))) ⇳ The Portable Chekhov ⇡ ContentsStories Vanka The privy councilor A calamity At the mill The chameleon The siren Sergeant Prishibeyev The culprit Daydreams Heartache An encounter The letter The kiss The name day party An attack of nerves Gusev Anna on the neck In the cart At home Peasants The man in a shell Gooseberries About love The darling The lady with the pet dog At Christmas time On official business In the ravinePlays The boor The cherry orchardLetters Books in this Portable series are often hard to rate and review As with any writer, some of the individual s work is better than others when you have most of that work in one collection it s hard to be as discerning about the collection as a whole And since GR still hasn t come to terms with the idea of 1 2 star ratings, those of us suffering from a wee bit of OCD have to make do with what we have.I have always thought I had read most of Chekhov s short stories I had previously, of course, r Books in this Portable series are often hard to rate and review As with any writer, some of the individual s work is better than others when you have most of that work in one collection it s hard to be as discerning about the collection as a whole And since GR still hasn t come to terms with the idea of 1 2 star ratings, those of us suffering from a wee bit of OCD have to make do with what we have.I have always thought I had read most of Chekhov s short stories I had previously, of course, read his play The Cherry Orchard and short stories like The Lady with the Pet Dog, but it wasn t until I picked up this book that I realized how limited was my reading experience of Chekhov Additionally I found that a lot of the short stories I had previously read were clearly in need of a re read anyhow, and for that I am glad I read this Still, it s 640 pages of one author one Russian author And that s a lotta Rusky to take in at one time If reading The Portable Dorothy Parker wasn t enough to make me want to drink myself under a table, reading about the plights of Russians in the 19th and early 20th centuries was.Supposedly Chekhov did the stream of consciousness style of writing, like before Joyce and all But unlike Joyce his stories never made me feel the urge to rip my fingernails out one by one without anesthetic So I m not sure what Joyce was reading that inspired him to do something completely different with it, but hey,power to him I ll stick with my Chekhov He did challenge his readers, and that s attractive like Umberto Eco , but not so to the point that anyone should feel dumb, like they re just not cool enough to get him He wrote stories to support himself and his family very admirable before he became a physician His medical and clinical background often creeps up in his writing and I almost felt smart just reading it at times Several of his short stories are rather brief, but they all pack a punch Many of them show Chekhov s views on contemporary issues and politics, but not in a heavy handed Upton Sinclair sort of way Subdued, yet there it is A quote attributed to Chekhov, Don t tell me the moon is shining show me the glint of light on broken glass, highlights Chekhov s ability to show the reader the story instead of telling it This ability is on display in this collection of short stories again and again, and it really is masterful writing Chekhov s short stories are often called sketches which is a perfect name for these stories that feel like they start in the middle and end before the resolution Most of these stories offer A quote attributed to Chekhov, Don t tell me the moon is shining show me the glint of light on broken glass, highlights Chekhov s ability to show the reader the story instead of telling it This ability is on display in this collection of short stories again and again, and it really is masterful writing Chekhov s short stories are often called sketches which is a perfect name for these stories that feel like they start in the middle and end before the resolution Most of these stories offer just glimpses into the lives of the characters and end before things come together Although I recognize Chekhov s mastery of writing, I ultimately couldn t help feeling a little bogged down by the continually somber tone of his stories I did find most of the stories interesting, some not so much But I still can t pin down my feelings on Chekhov I guess I will have a better understanding after I read some of his plays But I will read this book again before I make a definitive judgement. Some stories are good, somenot so much There are some good technical things from Chekhov that short story writers might find helpful Worth a read. Two perfect stories The Kiss and The Lady With the Pet Dog. This is a reread from my college days, even the same book It s even better the second time around Though I have dabbled in some of the stories over the years reading them all again was a treat I don t think I will make it through all 800 of his short stories though I m tempted I will occasionally dip into them when I want to discover a hidden treasure. I had bought this before learning my lesson that I can t handle complete collections of work Extreme highs but slogging through everything leaves you feeling low. It s Chechov, so.