Celebrity Chekhov: Stories by Anton Chekhov

( 4 )

Overview

Q: What do Tiger, Paris, Lindsay, Alec, and Oprah have in common with the enduring characters of Anton Chekhov?

A: Love, loss, pride, yearning, heartbreak, renewal, transcendence: the very stuff of life.

The immortal stories of Anton Chekhov have long entranced readers with their insights into the universal truths of human behavior . . . but you've never read them quite like this.
  • Former friends Nicole and ...
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Celebrity Chekhov

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Overview

Q: What do Tiger, Paris, Lindsay, Alec, and Oprah have in common with the enduring characters of Anton Chekhov?

A: Love, loss, pride, yearning, heartbreak, renewal, transcendence: the very stuff of life.

The immortal stories of Anton Chekhov have long entranced readers with their insights into the universal truths of human behavior . . . but you've never read them quite like this.
  • Former friends Nicole and Paris exchange prickly pleasantries in "Tall and Short."
  • Talk-show host Dave narrowly averts another potential domestic crisis in "A Transgression."
  • Reality star Kim shares her newfound notoriety with Khloe and Kourtney in "Joy."

In a witty, graceful, and revelatory feat of literary reinvention, acclaimed novelist and humorist Ben Greenman takes nineteen of Chekhov's greatest stories and recasts them with some of the best-known luminaries of our time—with eye-opening, and oddly ennobling, results.

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Editorial Reviews

L Magazine
“A high-concept experiment in surreal comedy, that’s also an act of devotion regarding the persistent power of literature.”
Daily Candy
“Nothing short of brilliant. . . . you can plant it proudly on your bookshelf.”
The Very Short List
“Ben Greenman’s Celebrity Chekhov might be the first literary mashup that actually adds to our understanding of the original work.”
The Very Short List
"Ben Greenman’s Celebrity Chekhov might be the first literary mashup that actually adds to our understanding of the original work."
L Magazine
"A high-concept experiment in surreal comedy, that’s also an act of devotion regarding the persistent power of literature."
Daily Candy
"Nothing short of brilliant. . . . you can plant it proudly on your bookshelf."
Library Journal
When one considers the many types of media vying for the public's attention, it's no wonder that book enthusiasts worry about the future of reading. Within that group is a smaller contingent that frets over the prospects of a readership for canonical works of literature. In Celebrity Chekhov, New Yorker editor Greenman (e.g., Please Step Back) swaps out the characters in Anton Chekhov's short fiction for modern celebrities. While there is a certain charm in having Paris Hilton speak as though she had a 19th-century Russian aristocrat stuck in her throat, the novelty wears thin in fairly short order. But as an idea, it seems extensible, even franchisable. One shouldn't be surprised to see this volume followed by reworkings of Austen, Hemingway, and other authors in a way that makes us rethink our reservations about the demise of print culture. VERDICT Readable in an afternoon, this book might appeal to readers who enjoy similar satiric knockoffs, like Steve Hockensmith's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Like many books that are good for a laugh, Celebrity Chekhov is worth reading once.—Chris Pusateri, Jefferson Cty. P.L., Lakewood, CO
Kirkus Reviews

The stories of Anton Chekhov are hijacked by American celebrities in New Yorker editor Greenman's latest (What He's Poised to Do, 2010, etc.).

The author makes a modest proposal in this thinly conceptualized literary mash-up. "Chekhov drew his characters from all levels of Russian society in his time: peasants, aristocrats, intense young clerks, disappointed wives," he writes. "Today, in America, we have a simple way of identifying these flawed specimens of humanity ruled by ego and insecurity. They are called 'celebrities.' " To illustrate his point, Greenman proceeds to "adapt and celebritize" (his phrase) some of the Russian author's short stories by poisoning them with celebrities. "A Transgression" puts David Letterman at the mercy of his blackmailer before a run-in with Steve Martin pulls his fat out of the fire. "Bad Weather" features Tiger Woods: "And Tiger Woods, holding his knee as though it were aching, glanced stealthily at his wife and mother-in-law to see the effect of his lie, or as he called it, diplomacy." Among other targets: Paris Hilton, the Kardashian sisters, Sarah Palin and Lindsay Lohan, appearing in "A Classical Student," which ends with a garish sexual encounter between the starlet and Jesse James. More disturbing is the jarring disconnect between Chekhov's language, which survives partially intact, and the penetrative insertions of celebrities who are referred to by their full names ("My dear Brad Pitt! What fate has brought you?" etc.). There are a few moments of keen insight—Eminem is used to good effect in the Poe-esque "Hush," while comedian Artie Lange haunts "In the Graveyard." But the whole thing still reads like a McSweeney's dispatch that got out of hand.

A derivative, exploitative literary stunt.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061990496
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/5/2010
  • Series: P.S. Series
  • Pages: 205
  • Product dimensions: 6.96 (w) x 11.28 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Meet the Author

Ben Greenman

Ben Greenman is an editor at The New Yorker. He is the author of the story collections What He's Poised to Do; Superbad; and A Circle Is a Balloon and Compass Both: Stories About Human Love, and the novels Superworse and Please Step Back. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two children.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 21, 2011

    Odd.

    Some of the stories seemed like a good fit. Others seemed like the author simply inserted a famous name for the hell of it. That said, it was a quick and entertaining read. Anyone who has a penchant for devouring posts in Perez Hilton will enjoy it.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2012

    Hunting!!

    As you continue on your fun journey, you notice that the snow is falling a bit harder. You see an object flitt through the snow. It's a tiny deer. Followed closely behind is a snowshoe rabbit. Hunt animals here, and add your bountiful catches to the refreshment tables!

    ~€loudstar

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2014

    PHOTOSHOOT

    For models.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

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