Anton Chekhov (left) and Leo Tolstoy. Some of their short stories are examined in A Swim in a Pond in the Rain (In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life), by George Saunders. Photo: Getty Images
Anton Chekhov (left) and Leo Tolstoy. Some of their short stories are examined in A Swim in a Pond in the Rain (In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life), by George Saunders. Photo: Getty Images

Tolstoy, Chekhov, Turgenev, Gogol: how author George Saunders’ relationship with the written word changed after a deep dive into Russian literary giants’ short stories

  • George Saunders meditates on reading and writing, how fiction works, and narrative in A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, his dissection of Russian short stories
  • He read the seven tales ‘50, 100 times’ and, through writing his book, learned ‘how rewarding it is to pay attention to something relatively small, very deeply’

Anton Chekhov (left) and Leo Tolstoy. Some of their short stories are examined in A Swim in a Pond in the Rain (In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life), by George Saunders. Photo: Getty Images
Anton Chekhov (left) and Leo Tolstoy. Some of their short stories are examined in A Swim in a Pond in the Rain (In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life), by George Saunders. Photo: Getty Images
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