Those listeners who make it through this voluminous, exhaustive, and unexpurgated Blackstone version of Rayfield's biography of Chekhov (which weighed in at 601 pages) will spend the equivalent of more than a day of their lives doing so. But, at the conclusion, they will feel they have been somewhere somewhere totally raw, alive, and real. Chekhov, his family, and his circle of theater and literary intimates led lives every bit as dramatic and unsettling as anything in his plays. He and his male cronies were freethinking chauvinists who relished describing sexual attributes with the most graphic language, a fact that adds spice to the audio retelling of his life story, otherwise a series of domestic and literary squabbles. Fred Williams, who narrates with great Russian, good German, and okay French accents, deserves credit for stamina and for providing a sense of unity for listeners joining him in this demanding undertaking. The organization of previously underused secondary resources and archival material without any effort at interpretation or analysis does not detract but actually enhances the sense of immediacy and "being there." Recommended for large biography collections. Mark Pumphrey, Polk Cty. P.L., Columbus, NC Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.