Anton Chekhov, the Russian playwright and story writer, lived a short but intense life in the concluding decades of the 19th century. Left by his debt-ridden parents to manage the old household in southern Russia duing his mid-teens, he managed to finish his medical school training, pursue careers as a doctor and writer, and support much of his family for much of his short life, as well as purchase land, finance a country school, and "enjoy" many love affairs with difficult and demanding women. He died of tuberculosis undoubtedly caught from patients at the age of 44.
Rayfield's 600-page biography reads very easily and fast. It accents the life of its subject: there's very little dissection of Chekhov's writings. But the life will help readers understand the bitter humor of his plays and stories.
This report prepared by David Loftus