Classics Circuit Imperial Russian Literature Tour.
The Steppe and Other Stories by Anton Chekhov
Even though I'm not a great reader of short stories I chose them because I couldn't see myself getting through anything heavier in a month I knew was going to be a busy one.
There are twenty-one short stories in this volume with a variety of characters from the less privileged classes of Russian society and they provide a fascinating glimpse into their lives. I hadn't read Chekhov before but by the time I finished these stories I'd become a great admirer of his beautiful descriptive prose.
".....in the insects twittering, in the sinister figures and ancient barrows, in the depths of the sky, in the moonlight, in the flight of the night bird, in everything you see and hear, you seem to glimpse the triumph of beauty, youth in the prime of strength, a lust for life. Your spirit responds to its magnificent, stern homeland and you long to fly above the steppe with the night bird. In this triumph of beauty, in this exuberance of happiness, you feel a tenseness and agonized regret, as if the steppe knew how lonely she is is, how her wealth and inspiration are lost to the world - vainly, unsung, unneeded, and through the joyous clamour you hear her anguished, hopeless cry for a bard, a poet of her own."
Memorable reading and I think these stories would be ideal for anyone wary of Russian literature.