Baker & Taylor A biographical study of the Russian literary master and his works is set against the backdrop of a modern-day journey to Russia and the various places where Anton Chekhov lived and worked, reflecting on the characters and ideas her created in his remarkable short stories and plays. 25,000 first printing.
Blackwell North Amer To illuminate the mysterious greatness of Anton Chekhov's writings, Janet Malcolm takes on three roles: literary critic, biographer, and journalist. Her close readings of the stories and plays are interwoven with episodes from Chekhov's life and framed by an account of a recent journey she made to St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Yalta. Writing of Chekhov's life, Malcolm demonstrates how the shadow of death that hovered over most of his literary career - he became consumptive in his twenties and died in his forties - is almost everywhere reflected in the work. She writes of his childhood, his relationship with his family, his marriage, his travels, his early success, his exile to Yalta - always with an eye to connecting them to the themes and characters of the stories and plays. Similarly, her adventures as a journalist in contemporary Russia in the company of three women guides - Nina, Sonia, and Nelly - become the fulcrum of literary insight: a misadventure at the Yalta airport, for example, leads to a novel analysis of "The Lady with the Dog." Looking at Chekhov's recurrent themes - romantic love, violence, beauty, gardens, food, among others - Malcolm makes out patterns that have hitherto been invisible. Lovers of Chekhov and beginning readers alike will be gripped by Malcolm's multifaceted journey, and few readers of Reading Chekhov will not feel impelled to turn to or revisit the masterpieces.