Renowned as the greatest short story writer ever, Anton Chekhov was also a master of the novella, and perhaps his most overlooked is this gem, My Life—the tale of a rebellious young man so disgusted with bourgeois society that he drops out to live amongst the working classes, only to find himself confronted by the morally and mentally deadening effects of provincialism.
The 1896 tale is partly a commentary on Tolstoyan philosophy, and partly an autobiographical reflection on Chekhov's own small-town background. But it is, more importantly, Chekhov in his prime, displaying all his famous strengths—vivid characters, restrained but telling details, and brilliant psychological observation—and one of his most stirring themes: the youthful struggle to maintain idealism against growing isolation.
The Art of The Novella Series
Too short to be a novel, too long to be a short story, the novella is generally unrecognized by academics and publishers. Nonetheless, it is a form beloved and practiced by literature's greatest writers. In the Art Of The Novella series, Melville House celebrates this renegade art form and its practitioners with titles that are, in many instances, presented in book form for the first time.
"I wanted them all, even those I'd already read." —Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer
"Small wonders." —Time Out London
"[F]irst-rate…astutely selected and attractively packaged…indisputably great works." —Adam Begley, The New York Observer
"I’ve always been haunted by Bartleby, the proto-slacker. But it’s the handsomely minimalist cover of the Melville House edition that gets me here, one of many in the small publisher’s fine 'Art of the Novella' series." —The New Yorker
"The Art of the Novella series is sort of an anti-Kindle. What these singular, distinctive titles celebrate is book-ness. They're slim enough to be portable but showy enough to be conspicuously consumed—tiny little objects that demand to be loved for the commodities they are." —KQED (NPR San Francisco)
"Some like it short, and if you're one of them, Melville House, an independent publisher based in Brooklyn, has a line of books for you... elegant-looking paperback editions ...a good read in a small package." —The Wall Street Journal