Anton Chekhov   Reviews     

Short Stories by Anton Chekhov Bk.1: A Tragic Actor and Other Stories

ISBN 9780956116543


These six unabridged stories in the faithful Constance Garnett translation are presented with fine flourish by the Russian-born narrator. The poignant, everyday dramas of Imperial Russia are here, from jolting carriages across boundless taiga, to a tragic actor and a French tutor insulted by his boastful employer.

Rachel Redford, The Observer (UK)

I really do enjoy Chekhov, and it was very pleasant to walk to and from work listening to these stories. I thought the narrator did a decent job turning the prose into something enjoyable to the ear, and Chekhov, as always, writes great stuff.

Jennie Blake (Manchester, UK) 3 star

Listening to Chekhov short stories told in a Russian accented voice. What a pleasant way to spend an hour. Anton Chekhov does so well at condensing time and space into just a few words. Most writers of his time, and of today, would need a novel to tell what he can put into not very many pages. I'm not usually an audio book user, but did enjoy this one. The subtle sound effects and the Russian-sounding narrator added to the listening.

Michael Schwager (Southern Idaho, USA) 4 star

I really enjoyed this collection of subtly funny vignettes from the life of 19th century small town Russia. There was something odd that I didn't remember about Chekhov's stories at all, but which caught my attention this time - their climax was as subtle as their wit, and seemed to take place way before the end, or not at all.

Karim Mamdani  (Toronto, Canada)

I’ve always loved Chekhov’s stories and the six presented here have that wonderful mix of humour and poignancy.

Maki Vounoridis (Melbourne, Australia)

Much of the grace and beauty of Chekhov's writing is best known through his plays that still are on stages almost every day of the year, somewhere in this country. He was a master at creating characters, telling stories with the most minimal of incidents magnified by pictorial dialogue that come close to making a stage set unnecessary. Although many appreciate the fact that he also was one of the finest short story writers in history, there will most assuredly be an increase in his popularity in this region once the audience has the opportunity to listen to this superb audio CD produced and read by Max Bollinger, a very sensitive British actor of Russian descent. In this first instalment of what hopefully will continue to traverse all of Chekhov's short stories, Bollinger reads six brief, highly entertaining and exciting tales: A TRAGIC ACTOR, IN A STRANGE LAND, OH! THE PUBLIC, THE LOOKING GLASS, HER HUSBAND, and OVERDOING IT. 

Not only is Bollinger's able to take on the moods of the various characters in these stories with subtle nuances of vocal inflection, but he also has the ability to radiate the poetry of the descriptive narrative with a voice that is at once British in eloquence of delivery and at the same time flavoured with his native Russian tongue that adds immeasurably to the credibility of Chekhov's technique of writing. Bollinger adds atmospheric sounds - trains moving, nature sounds, etc - in just the right amount to enhance his reading without making the stories sound like old radio shows! 

For those who already love Chekhov's stories, this CD will delight and demand repeated hearings. And for those unfamiliar with the genius of Anton Chekhov in short story form, welcome to a new world that is close to addictive. Excellent addition to the library and as gifts to friends in love with literature." View this review on Amazon here >

Grady Harp (Los Angeles, CA United States)

64 minutes of translated short stories of Russian writer, playwrite, and physician Anton Chekhov. Living from 1860 - 1904, Chekhov was considered one of the greatest short story writers in the history of world literature. Russian-born, British actor, writer, and producer, Max Bollinger, narrates these stories for you in his 2009 release. I am pleased to report that there is no bad language, excessive violence or explicit sexual material. The 6 stories are: 

1. A Tragic Actor - Marsha, daughter of a police captain, thoroughly enjoyed the company of actors and begs her father to invite them to dinner. Marsha becomes mesmerized with the actors, especially one of them. (9:27) 

2. In a Strange Land - A French tutor has an indefinite job with a Russian. The Russian is insulting to the Frenchman, who is quick to point out the shortcomings of the French, to the point where the Frenchman becomes insulted and prepares to leave. (10:20) 

3. Oh! The Public - An invalid passenger on a train is unwilling to produce his ticket. (9:05) 

4. The Looking Glass - Nellie, daughter of a landowner, sits looking in the mirror and dreaming of being married when she meets the object of her dreams. When her husband becomes ill, she demands the local doctor drop everything and come right away. (10:44) 

5. Her Husband - Natalia, an opera singer, lies in bed thinking of her little girl, when her husband comes in and disrupts her peace. (14:11) 

6. Overdoing It - A land surveyor is looking for transportation to travel to an estate that he is to survey. (10:40) 

Max Bollinger, affluent in both Russian and English, does an excellent job in his narration of these wonderfully quaint stories, changing voices to display the multi-levels of characterization with much emotion. Narrated stories are especially enjoyable to listen to when driving in the car. I am looking forward to Volume II. 

An added feature, the inside cover of the CD case (left side) features a print of part of Chekhov's hand written essay "Kyrgizi" from school in Taganrog in 1876. The right side of the inside case, is writing from one of Chekhov's notebooks from his play "Cherry Orchard". View this review on Amazon here >

Kathy Wroblewski (Baltimore, USA)

Anton Chekhov is of course one of the world’s greatest playwrights. From Lincoln Center to Lincoln County, Montana Chekhov’s plays are appreciated by theatre-goers of all stripes. But, it was a surprise to me that Chekhov was also a prolific writer of short stories. I confess that I am not a natural lover of short stories and often pick up a collection with the intention of just getting through them. But, this collection by Chekhov came to me as a CD and part of Library Thing’s Early Reviewer Program. So, with slightly more interest I began to listen and I was most pleasantly surprised.

These stories are small masterpieces. The scene is set quickly and within a few sentences the story line is underway. But all seem to contain an element of the unexpected. In “The Husband” a newly famous stage actress laments her now dependent husband’s whines and demands. In “Oh, the Public” Chekov depicts a running battle between a conscientious train conductor and an obstreperous passenger. The unhappy results when a doting father invites the members of a theater caste to his home for dinner are related in “A Tragic Actor”

Joseph Belliveau (Canada)


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  • Title: Short Stories by Anton Chekhov Bk.1
  • Subtitle: A Tragic Actor and Other Stories
  • ISBN: 9780956116543
  • Category: Classic Fiction, Short Stories, Comedy, Drama
  • Format: Audio CD, Audio Book
  • Language: English (Unabridged)
  • Author: Anton Chekhov
  • Translator: Constance Garnett
  • Narrator: Max Bollinger
  • Imprint: Sovereign
  • Running Time: 64 min
  • Dimentions: 190 x 135 (mm), Spine 15 (mm)
  • On Sale: 2010
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