The Prank: The Best of Young Chekhov by Anton Chekhov, Maria Bloshsteyn (Translator)


In 1882, he decided it was time to establish his name and claim to fame properly, and so he picked and carefully put together the twelve stories he considered his best work, intending to publish them with illustrations by his brother Nikolay, a gifted artist himself. The Prank, as Chekhov entitled the book, was all set to go to the printer when a Tsarist censor suppressed the book. Why? Because, as Chekhov wrote to a friend, “my best stories uproot the foundations.”

Satires, send-ups, tales of student life, artistic ambition, hunting parties, troubled families, love and betrayal, these twelve stories, accompanied by Nikolay’s illustrations, display the zest, energy, humor, and unsparing insight that were Chekhov’s from the start.

A depiction of Russian life through humor, candor with a subtle gritty rawness, innuendo only the talented Chekhov achieves with intellectual insight. Descriptive and original, full of verve, relationships paraded with their flaws.  Quite entertaining, I’m biased given I am a huge Chekov fan and of Russian literature in general, a favorite genre. Entertaining collection of twelve short stories, all appealing.

Artists Wives
A satire on Russian bohemian lifestyle from an artist apartment complex. Funny.

Addresses corruption of Russian society as a father attempts to bribe his sons arithmetic teacher for a passing grade.

St Peters Day
A hunting trip with an eclectic group of men. The harsh treatment towards others demonstrated, social class explored.

Paperback, 168 pages
Expected publication: April 7th 2015 by NYRB Classics (first published March 3rd 2015)
ISBN13: 9781590178362


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