Stephen Fry Presents a Selection of Anton Chekhov's Short Stories

  • by Anton Chekov
  • Narrated by Stephen Fry
  • 1 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

"Chekhov is probably better known in Britain for his plays than for his prose. For many, however, it is his short stories that mark the high water of his genius. It might at first glance be hard for those not used to his style of narrative to see what the fuss is about - and fuss there is: for most authors and lovers of literature Chekhov is incomparably the greatest short story writer there ever was. These tales appear to be about nothing. Some seem shockingly short and disarmingly inconsequential. They often fail to provide that sting in the tail or punch in the gut that we associate with the kind of popular Roald Dahl, Somerset Maugham story. But if you let character, observation and language do their work in your mind - hope you will agree with me that no writer captured, mood, moral entanglement, familial love and the pains and joys of humanity quite as well and with quite so much painterly detail, sympathy and fellow-feeling as Anton Chekhov." written by Stephen Fry.

©2008 SamFry Limited; (P)2008 HarperCollins Publishers

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Customer Reviews

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Virtuoso

Anton Chekhov's short stories are more numerous than his plays but harder to appreciate: as plays they are economical with means - no fireworks of plot here - but the absence of actors means there is little emotion to balance the close minute observations of the world. Here, Stephen Fry offers magnificient show, that almost elevates the stories to the emotional level of playacting on stage, though he seems never to go over the top; it is a cearfully studied and controlled performance with a feel of great spontanity at the same time.
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- Mikko

'He's a Russian Bear - give him some Chekhov...'

Chekhov is said to be one of the World's most admired playwrights/authors among thespians. Part of the reason for this is that few have read him & he sounds bewilderingly hard to get into (similar to the reputation of James Joyce or Dostoyevsky).

The fact is that he isn't really that daunting and his short stories are accessible & often fun. Couple this with having the Master of Eloquent Simplification reading it (and a good translater in Constance Garnet) and you will find that this download makes an excellent introduction to Chekhov.

In all there are 7 stories of about 5-15 minutes each (Story 5, though, is 40 minutes):

1. An Avenger
2. A Blunder
3. Boys
4. The Huntsman
5. The Lady and the Dog
6. Misery
7. Oysters

One thing I would say is that it did take me two full listens to really get into the stories, so this is not for those who want easy, light reading.
However, when compared to Dickens, it is light as a Fairy Cake.

Overall this download is a rewarding experience. I would say though that 7 stories (& 80 minutes of material) is a bit mean on the part of the publishers. There is also the fact that Stephen Fry has recorded better audio downloads (e.g. ? Stephen Fry Presents a Selection of Oscar Wilde's Short Stories ? & ?Fry and Laurie Read Daudet and Jerome?), which are worth trying before this as they are simpler & more complete.

Still, if you want to gain a foothold in the World of Chekhov, then there are few better places to start than this book. Unless, of course, you happen to be a Russian Bear...
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- Tim

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-12-2008
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Limited