Many of Chekhov’s short stories, translated into English during the early years of the 20th century, do not retain the slavic flavor of the originals. Ross’ translations reverse this trend. The stories focus on the development and unique existence of the male the trials and tribulations of adolescence, maturity, and old age. Chekhov masterfully takes complicated emotional experiences and presents them with his characteristic intensity and clarity, allowing readers to vicariously share the experience. His prose is truly poetic.
Stories of Men begins with “Volodya,” a boy on the brink of independence, caught in an undercurrent of social displacement, who makes an irreversible mistake. Chekhov’s stories of youth including “A Confession,” “The Proud Man,” and “The Guardian,” a tale of artistic game-playing are full of comedy, inordinate vanity, and self-realization. Many of these very early stories were published in comic magazines under pseudonyms. Later his stories mature as do the characters in “Fear,” “Promotion Preliminary Examination,” and “The Wager,” a political comparison of capital punishment and life imprisonment. Though only in his forties, Chekhov was ready to contemplate death in “A Tedious Tale.”
Ross has made these works more accurate and accessible to the contemporary reader, while maintaining Chekhov’s original intent of illustrating how time and circumstances can change men. With thirteen stories only now being presented to the English-speaking world, Stories of Men will excite all who love this classic writer’s work.