This collection of Chekhov’s finest early writing reveals a young writer mastering the art of the short story. The Steppe’, which established his reputation, is the unforgettable tale of a boy’s journey to a new school in Kiev, travelling through majestic landscapes towards an unknown destiny. Gusev’ depicts an ocean voyage, where the sea takes on a terrifying, primeval power; The Kiss’ portrays a shy soldier’s failed romantic encounter; and in The Duel’ two men’s enmity ends in farce. Haunting and highly atmospheric, all the stories in this volume show a writer emerging from the shadow of his masters Tolstoy, Turgenev and Gogol and discovering his own voice. They also illustrate Chekhov’s genius for evoking the natural world and exploring inner lives.