[Chekhov] wasn't bothered about the meaning of life in general, but life as it is lived, He was more interested in what people around him said and did. He was obsessed with the detail of life. Tolstoy always saw his own writing as "teaching" and had his breakdown partly because he was so anxious that he didn't have anything to teach. But Chekhov only ever saw his own writing as the formulation of questions, and so didn't need to have a crisis about it.While I first found the meandering plot, or lack of plot, distracting, at some point I was drawn into the bleak and hopeful world without noticing. It was one of my favorite reads this year.