Whenever I finish one of Chekhov’s short stories, I always feel (briefly) that I am incredibly wise. His stories are often very short and many of his most memorable pieces don’t have much of a plot. Chekhov writes in light touches, usually telling us little about his characters. But the gentler and less forceful Chekhov is, the more powerful and atmospheric his writing, and I can’t put this collection down without feeling the way Chekhov must have felt: that the world is often complicated and sad, but all in all, it is a fascinating and benign place. You can read most of his stories in under an hour, and they’re great to pick up when you need some wisdom… So put this one on your reading list and Chek it hov when you’re done.