The first substantial volume in English devoted solely to the full range of Chekhov 's comic mastery forty stories in all, employing a variety of techniques and twists, and all with a sense of fun and infectious good humor. Tolstoy, who disliked Chekhov 's plays, was reduced to helpless fits of laughter by his comic stories. Translated from the Russian and with an Introduction by Harvey Pitcher. Penetrating social satire and trenchant character analysis....In story after story, Chekhov displays techniques especially the use of a few telling details to suggest a whole that he would later employ to stunning effect. Philip Gambone, New York Times Book Review.