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Chekhov, widely hailed as the supreme master of the short story, never wrote a full-length novel, but he wrote five works long enough to be called short novels.
“The Steppe” is the most lyrical of the five, an account of a young boy's frightening journey to enroll in a distant school.
“The Duel” sets two decadent figures—a fanatical rationalist and a man of literary sensibility—on a collision course with a surprising conclusion.
In “The Story of an Unknown Man,” a radical disguises himself as a valet to the son of an important official in order to spy on him, only to find that his own terminal illness has changed his priorities in unexpected ways.
“Three Years” recounts the ironies in the life of a rich but passive Moscow merchant.
And in “My Life,” a man renounces his wealth and social position for a life of manual labor, only to find the moral simplicity of his ideals in conflict with the complex realities of human nature.
All five of these masterly fictions demonstrate Chekhov's brilliant and unusual handling of the longer narrative form.