©2008 SamFry Limited (P)2008 HarperCollins Publishers
Anton Chekhov's short stories are more numerous than his plays but harder to appreciate: as plays they are economical with means - no fireworks of plot here - but the absence of actors means there is little emotion to balance the close minute observations of the world. Here, Stephen Fry offers magnificient show, that almost elevates the stories to the emotional level of playacting on stage, though he seems never to go over the top; it is a cearfully studied and controlled performance with a feel of great spontanity at the same time.
Chekhov is said to be one of the World's most admired playwrights/authors among thespians. Part of the reason for this is that few have read him & he sounds bewilderingly hard to get into (similar to the reputation of James Joyce or Dostoyevsky).
The fact is that he isn't really that daunting and his short stories are accessible & often fun. Couple this with having the Master of Eloquent Simplification reading it (and a good translater in Constance Garnet) and you will find that this download makes an excellent introduction to Chekhov.
In all there are 7 stories of about 5-15 minutes each (Story 5, though, is 40 minutes):
1. An Avenger
2. A Blunder
4. The Huntsman
5. The Lady and the Dog
One thing I would say is that it did take me two full listens to really get into the stories, so this is not for those who want easy, light reading.
However, when compared to Dickens, it is light as a Fairy Cake.
Overall this download is a rewarding experience. I would say though that 7 stories (& 80 minutes of material) is a bit mean on the part of the publishers. There is also the fact that Stephen Fry has recorded better audio downloads (e.g. ? Stephen Fry Presents a Selection of Oscar Wilde's Short Stories ? & ?Fry and Laurie Read Daudet and Jerome?), which are worth trying before this as they are simpler & more complete.
Still, if you want to gain a foothold in the World of Chekhov, then there are few better places to start than this book. Unless, of course, you happen to be a Russian Bear...
The stories are entertaining. Stephen brings the characters and the circustances of the stories alive with his rich range of expression.
This is the first time I've read (or listened to) Anton Chekhov, and some interesting plots and scenes are described that will probably make me look through his work for something more substantial.
The book is expertly read by Stephen Fry. I'm a big fan of his narrative style and so that was always going to be a plus point for me.
I really like this short story series, as it gives you an insight into the styles of these authors.
"Good intro to Chekhov"
A nice sampling of shorter works by Chekhov. Stephen Fry is a first-rate narrator. He succeeded in doing what he said he wanted to do: stimulated my interest in Chekhov and sparked an effort to read (and listen to) more. Fortunately, to meet that need, there are several other audiobooks of Chekhov stories on Audible (by Kenneth Branagh and Ralph Cosham among others) with surprisingly little overlap: and of course a half-dozen new translations in the trade paperback market. The stories are sometimes light, sometimes dark, always full of selective and evocative detail. They have a certain quality I can't quite articulate: a kind of compassionate satire.
My one complaint, and it's something that's true of many short-story collections from Audible, is that the stories are jammed together: one story ends and the next begins in practically the same breath. Please: especially with stories like these, give us a couple of seconds of dead silence between each story: we need a moment to absorb the impact.
With clarity of voice and precision of diction, Stephen Fry brings Anton Chekov's work to life in this 1:48-minute collection. A must own!
This selection includes the following seven stories: An Avenger / A Blunder / Boys / The Huntsman / The Lady With The Dog / Misery / Oysters
"Mr Fry is just the man to do this."
First, let me commend Stephen Fry. His voice is easy to listen to, clear,
has a pleasant tone, and he pronounces Russian names well. He's a talented
actor and he brings the text alive, speaking the dialogue in the voice of each
character and the narration with a smoothe but not slick authority. He's a delight to listen to.
Secondly, this is a nice selection of Checkhov's work.These stories are funny, moving and true to life. Previously I've only read Cehckhov, hearing it enhances the experience considerably.
Recommended with the highest enthusiasm.
This is one of the best audiobooks I've ever downloaded here at Audible. I've read the stories before and expected to enjoy this, but I found that I absolutely adored it. Stephen Fry is delightful in everything he puts his hand toward. I've purchased all of "Fry's English Delight" series and his other audio selections available here and this is by far and away the best.
Fry doesn't just read the stories, he absorbs them into his being and then performs them with a perfect understanding of Chekhov's vision. Fry is the ideal choice for this performance because he is always at this best when dealing compassionately with the absurd contradictions of human nature, as was Chekhov.
I will keep this collection in my rainy day box and pull it out for a re-listen anytime I need cheering up. Fabulous collection, I only wish it were longer.
"Sweet voice for each sweet story."
Stephen Fry did a magnificent job. I couldn't get enough. Listened to it during five different running workouts and I could see myself listening to it again and again. He brought the feeling to each short story that I think Chekhov would've intended....
Stephen Fry does a good job with the narration, but there is a problem in spacing the stories. Not even a second passes between them. I'm sure that this is a technical issue that can be easily corrected. However, until it is, this makes for an unsatisfactory listening experience.
Exceptional. I wish I could find more audio versions of Chekhov's stories. Stephen's delivery is spot on.
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