Selected StoriesAnton Chekhov
What "inspires" in a Chekhov story is what he sees and shows about life, and how much he cares about it. There are warmth and love and humor in Chekhov stories, but also there is a chill: sadness, loneliness - relationships that don't work - even cruelty and abjection. His craftsmanship produces beautiful, condensed accounts of how people act in everyday life. In every story there are little epiphanies where we are shown something important about what it means to be human. The solidarity he makes us feel with a Moscow cab driver or a villager in the Russian countryside in the 1890s makes us feel part of a larger humanity, and inspires us to nurture those ties.
From Books That Inspire 2001.