It’s National Short Story Week and the tip-top Nik Perring had the tip-top idea of posting a short story recommendation everyday this week to celebrate it. I thought the idea good enough to rob it and use it here (not without asking Nik’s permission, mind).

For my first recommendation I turn to the Daddy of short fiction, Chekhov. ‘A Joke’ is a beautiful little story all about the follies and foibles of young love and you can read a translation of the 1899 revision of the story (the better version – imho) here.

If that tickles your fancy you should grab yourself a copy of The Exclamation Mark collection published by Hesperus and translated by Rosamund Bartlett. As well as being a wonderful collection of Chekhov’s early stories, spanning a six month period of intense development of his skills as a writer, this collection also contains both versions of ‘A Joke,’ here published as ‘A Little Joke,’ along with quality translations of some of Chekhov’s best early work. I reviewed the collection earlier this year as part of my Short Story Challenge.