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.
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About the Translators:
Richard Pevear has published translations of Alain, Yves Bonnefoy, Alberto Savinio, Pavel Florensky, and Henri Volohonsky, as well as two books of poetry. He has received fellowships or grants for translation from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the French Ministry of Culture. Larissa Volokhonsky was born in Leningrad. She has translated works by the prominent Orthodox theologians Alexander Schmemann and John Meyendorff into Russian.
Together, Pevear and Volokhonsky have translated Dead Souls and The Collected Tales by Nikolai Gogol, and The Brothers Karamazov, Crime and Punishment, Notes from Underground, Demons, and The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky. They were awarded the PEN Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize for their version of The Brothers Karamazov, and more recently Demons was one of three nominees for the same prize. They are married and live in France.