How to Write Like Chekhov: Advice and Inspiration, Straight from His Own Letters and Work

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, Author, Piero Brunello, Editor, Lena Lencek, Editor Da Capo Press $14.95 (210p) ISBN 978-1-56924-259-9
Edited by professors Brunello and Lencek, this writing primer makes a thorough guide to the spare, realist style that made Chekhov one of the world's greatest playwrights and short story writers. Drawing specific (and more oblique) literary advice from Chekhov's correspondence and his experimental travel memoir The Island of Sakhalin (perhaps his most ambitious and personal project), the editors develop an insightful, practical outline of Chekhov's literary approach. Following Lencek's intelligent introduction, advice is helpfully broken down by topic, covering general questions of audience, subject and approach (""Witness, Don't Judge""); specific issues like plot, character and emotion (""Knowing How to Suffer""); observation and reporting (""Study the Graffiti""); and ""the actual writing"" (""Tell Stories as They Were Told""). Both Chekhov's correspondence and his excerpts prove interesting and illustrative, especially the work from Sakhalin that cast him as writer, ethnographer, tourist and census-taker. Including a ""who's who"" of Chekhov's pen pals and suggestion for further reading, this is a useful and smart guide for writers of all kinds.
Reviewed on: 11/03/2008
Release date: 11/01/2008
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