Top 10 Books by Anton Chekov

 

Anton Chekov started out as the son of a Russian grocer and often had to work at his father’s stall from early morning to midnight. But despite these circumstances, his literary genius was discovered by a local newspaper and soon he became a regular contributor. It was after a few years of writing short stories for the paper that he finally transformed into a full-fledged author with the publication of his first novel in 1886. These are some of his best works and the list has been collated from various sources.

 

The Seagull

The Seagull was developed as a play and even though it’s initial reception was lackluster it soon became a hit after it was revived again. The story is more about general social traditions with a bit of comic relief thrown in for good measure. Nevertheless, it still stands out as one of the best books by Anton Chekov as this book clearly shows his literary talent which would soon mature with the publication of his first novel

Read it For:
A closer look into the early years of Chekov before he became a full-fledged author
Don't Read it For:
if you are not interested in Anton Chekov, then you may want to give this a miss
What makes this book stand out?:
Chekov’s skill and talent in building a narrative

The cherry orchard

This book or rather play had been developed by Chekov during some of the turbulent years of his life and he has managed to capture the essence of hardship with this tragi-comedy which you can still relate to even today. The story revolves around a cherry orchard and the difficulties of one family as they struggle to make ends meet. Finally, they are forced to sell off their beautiful orchard, the one that contained so many memories for them but before that; they are compelled to cut down the beautiful cherry trees. The tale is both poignant and riveting which is why it tops the list as one of Chekov’s bestsellers

Read it For:
Chekov at his creative best
Don't Read it For:
if you do not like Chekov plays or stories, then you may want to give this a miss
What makes this book stand out?:
his style and the way he is able to make each character come alive

The Bear

Often considered to be one of his shortest plays it is nevertheless effective in being able to covey the fragility of the human condition. Chekov tries to portray the dilemma plaguing modern society which in this case happens to be woman’s emancipation. The play though comic in most parts consists of a bear having a discussion with some of the current literary giants of Chekov’s time. The play manages to build a narrative effectively around that of the central issue of woman’s emancipation but what it stands out for is the way it manages to condense so much of human nature into one short play which is why it is one of Anton Chekov’s bestsellers

Read it For:
Chekov’s unique style
Don't Read it For:
if you are not into Chekov, you would want to give this a miss
What makes this book stand out?:
The beautiful way that Chekov builds the narrative to underscore an important point.

The three sisters

Often considered to be one of his finest plays, Chekov does it again by masterfully crafting the stories and interweaving the themes to build the narrative. Chekov has always been a talented author and playwright and this one manages to showcase both perfectly. The story is set around the lives of the three stories at the turn of the century and their hopes for a better tomorrow. The play is both idealistic at times, poignant at others but it was and still remains a cornerstone to some of Chekov’s best works. In fact, this play can well be considered to be one of Anton Chekov’s best books

Read it For:
Anton Chekov’s best play with a strong narrative
Don't Read it For:
if you are not into Chekov, you may want to give this a miss
What makes this book stand out?:
Chekov’s genius at building a strong narrative
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The Duel

Anton Chekov often stands out for the brilliant way by which he builds the narrative and his multi-faceted characters to a slow but steady crescendo with the climax at the end. This tale is one of the best examples of Anton Chekov’s work and manages to display the best and worst parts of Human nature. This tale revolves around four individuals whose lives intersect with violent consequences. It is  a must-read novel for all Chekov lovers out there and stands out as one of the top 10 Anton Chekov books

Read it For:
Chekov’s unique storytelling ability
Don't Read it For:
if you are not into Chekov, you may want to give this a miss
What makes this book stand out?:
Chekov’s brilliant narrative certainly makes this book stand out for all the right reasons

My Life

Often touted as one of the best short story authors, Chekov has managed to do it again with this novella. It revolves around the life of a young man who becomes so jaded with the high society that he decides to give up all his privileges and to live as one among the masses. And soon he is forced to face reality in more ways than one, as he tries to adjust to provincialism and ordinary life

Read it For:
Chekov’s brilliant way in which he has weaved his story which is why this book stands out as one of the best books by Anton Chekov
Don't Read it For:
if you are not into Chekov, you may want to give this book a miss
What makes this book stand out?:
the way he had built the central character and woven the central plot makes this stand out for all the right reasons.

The three years

Another brilliant tale by Anton Chekov; a tale of unrequited love that’s based during some of the tumultuous years of Russia’s past. Chekov was keen to portray life in Moscow as he saw fit and he manages to do the same here beautifully. With strong characters he manages to build the narrative of unrequited love, tragedy, life and how as time passes, both the protagonists come to love each other.  The book portrays the characters and the central theme beautifully and weaves a poignant tale of love, despair, and companionship which is why this book is one of Anton Chekov’s bestsellers.

Read it For:
Chekov’s brilliant narrative which makes for an enthralling read
Don't Read it For:
if you are not into Chekov you would want to give this a miss
What makes this book stand out?:
the way Chekov builds each character and weaves his story which is why he stands out even today as a brilliant author.

The shooting party

A brilliant novel, this book certainly stands out as the only full-fledged novel that Chekov had ever written. The story would continue to serve as an inspiration for many including Agatha Christie who modeled her book “Who murdered Roger Ackroyd” on Chekov’s book. The story revolves around the life of a young girl who marries to escape the poverty of her life but only to end up in a loveless one. As she meets other men who desire her but life as she knows it, continues to unravel with disastrous consequences for all. A must-read for all Chekov lovers and certainly one of Anton Chekov’s best sellers

Read it For:
Strong plot, fast-paced and vivid descriptions
Don't Read it For:
if you are not into Chekov, you would want to give this a miss
What makes this book stand out?:
The beautiful way that Chekov continues to build his narrative and weaves his story around the central characters.

Short stories

Anton Chekov was unparalleled when it came to short stories; his interminable style compounded with his transcendental phrases makes it apparent why this collection of some of his best short stories stands out as one of the top 10 Anton Chekov books. He has managed to covey a slice of Russian life as never seen before with stories such as “the Huntsman” to “the boring story’

Read it For:
For his interminable style and his visceral imagery
Don't Read it For:
if you are not into Chekov, you may want to give this a miss
What makes this book stand out?:
Chekov’s transcendental style, his vivid descriptions and the sheer depth of his various stories

The story of a nobody

This story or short novel is about how life had become more dissolute during one of the troubled times In Russia. It is at this point that a group decides to even the playing field by getting one of their comrades to infiltrate one of the rich households with devastating consequences for the main protagonist.  This brilliant story forces you to question yourself and your principles and whether it is all worth it.

Read it For:
A well-crafted novel
Don't Read it For:
if you are not into Chekov, then you may want to give this a miss
What makes this book stand out?:
A beautifully woven tale that exposes the fragility of human principles

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