This captivating collection of short stories, selected from works written during Chekhov's prolific period, displays those qualities for which the Russian author and playwright is famous: a natural aptitude for detail, dialogue, humor, and compassion.The six masterfully executed tales, reprinted here in the authoritative Constance Garnett translation, include "The Darling," a poignant piece supporting the claim that life has no meaning without love; "The Kiss," a fanciful confection recounting an officer's brief encounter with an unknown woman; as well as "Anna on the Neck," "The Man in a Case," "The Malefactor," and the title story.As noted by author John Barth, "Chekhov is a superb anatomist of the human heart and an utter master of his literary means. The details of scene and behavior, the emotions registered -- seldom bravura, typically muted and complex, often as surprising to the characters themselves as to the reader but always right -- move, astonish, and delight us line after line, story after story."
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