Yes, I mostly read this book because Francine Prose told me to in Reading Like a Writer; but also because I had heard from multiple people that Chekhov is the shit and needs to be read by everyone.
Having finished this collection of stories, I can wholeheartedly concur. There’s nothing especially earth-shattering or revelatory about these stories – for the most part, each one is about ordinary people living ordinary lives and having ordinary experiences. There’s nothing very special going on with any of them, but Chekhov writes about them in a way that’s brilliantly done and quietly wonderful.
My favorite stories of the bunch were “The Death of a Clerk”, “A Boring Story”, “Ward No. 6”, “The Lady With the Little Dog”, and “In the Ravine.”
Verdict: four out of five stars