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A collection of short stories set in Russia at the end of the nineteenth century by the accomplished playwright Anton Chekhov.

- best book club reads - 





Den scores




224 pages

‘In the Twilight’ is a collection of short stories set in Russia at the end of the nineteenth century by the accomplished playwright Anton Chekhov. Picked by a Reading Den fan, it was this collection, his third, that received the prestigious Pushkin Prize after it was published in 1888. Whilst best known for his plays such as 'The Cherry Orchard' and 'The Seagull', Chekhov is considered one of the greatest writers of the short story genre, making this a fabulous choice for book clubs as well as an inspiration to explore more of his work.

This edition, published by Alma Books (2014) and still widely available in print and as an e-book, contains 16 stories from Chekhov’s original collection presenting a slice of life, be it a country walk, travellers on the move, domestic moments in time, a court room drama or a church event. There is little to connect the stories, only perhaps that the characters, from a wide spectrum of life and fortune are all reaching a crossroad in their lives, in which what they say and do defines their path (even if we the reader don’t get the chance to be told the consequences of their actions). Chekhov effortlessly sets the scene as we are dropped into a short story to find ourselves observing moments and interactions amongst family, friends and neighbours, travellers, lovers, religious figures and governing officials.

Fast forward to now and Chekhov's short stories remain fresh and relevant - capturing the essence of his characters battling the elements of life. Popular gems in the collection include “Agafya’, ‘Misfortune’ and ‘On The Road’. The Den enjoyed the touching tale of Vera’s unrequited love in ‘Verochka’.’ And ‘The Witch’ which had a dark and comic twist, reminiscent of Roald Dahl's 'Tales of the Unexpected' collection.

Brevity and precision are expertly used by Chekhov reflecting perhaps a new realism that was permeating Russian life at the time as this was a tumultuous period in history for a country that bore witness to the changing social and political reform including the abolition of serfdom and with this the end of feudalism.

In the introduction we learn that Chekhov explained his choice of title to his brother "In the Twilight - there’s an allegory here: life is twilight, and the reader who has brought the book should read it at twilight, whilst resting from the day’s labour.".

Whilst you may find yourself reading the collection on the move, maybe at speed over the spring time break we are sure it'll provide lots of discussion for your next book club gathering.

- for people who love books - 

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