V.S. Pritchett explores the connections between Chekhov's life and art, showing how Chekhov (1860-1904) often based his fiction on experiences of his difficult early years where he was responsible for his impoverished family, and as a young doctor, reported on the conditions of the Russian penal colony at Sakhalin. Later he continued his medical career, even when he became a well-known writer and playwright.
First published in 1988, this book focuses on the short stories of Chekhov often neglected in favour of his plays and discusses why Chekhov was a success in both mediums. The author has previously written "Collected Stories", a selection of short stories, in addition to Nothing like Leather and Dead Man Leading.