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Deceptively titled, this book does in fact contain two of Chekhov's short stories, 'Peasants' and 'The Black Monk.' Both psychological works of genius, they are each around 45 pages long, in small print. This book is very small and compact, (pocket-sized even) and coupled with the shortness of the chapters and stories themselves, it is really easy to carry around with you all day and passively pick up whenever you feel the urge.
Book I, Peasants
In my opinion, despite being a little dry in places Peasants is definitely worth reading but should be seen as more of an expose` of culture, as opposed to allegory or parody.
Strange to lump these two stories together in one book.
Book 2: The Black Monk
There is a real element of juxtapostion throughout this book's dialogue. The subtle change in form from the mundane and functional conversations between Kovrin, Pesotsky and Tania, to the well-observed and jarringly fantastical dynamics that take place between Kovrin and The Black Monk are remarkably exciting.
Overall, this is an exceptionally well-layered book, with many varying themes, salient points and outstanding narrative, which as well as being as whimsical and "un-put-downable" as a psychological thriller can be, gives real insight into the nature of the then-contemporary academic Russian lifestyle.
Imaginative and detailed - Both The Black Monk and Peasants are incredibly exciting and I couldn't urge you to read them any more if I try. Expand your sense of history and culture a little and don't miss out on either of these utter gems.