Complete Short NovelsBook - 2004
Anton Chekhov, widely hailed as the supreme master of the short story, also wrote five works long enough to be called short novels-here brought together in one volume for the first time, in a masterly new translation by the award-winning translators Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky.
The Steppe --the most lyrical of the five--is an account of a nine-year-old boy's frightening journey by wagon train across the steppe of southern Russia. The Duel sets two decadent figures--a fanatical rationalist and a man of literary sensibility--on a collision course that ends in a series of surprising reversals. In The Story of an Unknown Man , a political radical spying on an important official by serving as valet to his son gradually discovers that his own terminal illness has changed his long-held priorities in startling ways. Three Years recounts a complex series of ironies in the personal life of a rich but passive Moscow merchant. In My Life , a man renounces wealth and social position for a life of manual labor.
The resulting conflict between the moral simplicity of his ideals and the complex realities of human nature culminates in a brief apocalyptic vision that is unique in Chekhov's work.