Eaten away by illness, an elderly coffin maker named Yakov reflects on his life—in particular his indifferent relationship with his now-deceased wife, Marfa, and his antipathy towards Rothschild, the flutist in the Jewish klezmer orchestra in which Yakov occasionally plays.
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About the Author
Anton Chekhov was born in Taganrog, in southern Russia, and in his youth paid for his own education and supported his entire family by writing short, satirical sketches of Russian life. Though he eventually became a physician and once considered medicine his principal career, he continued to gain popularity and praise as a writer for various Russian newspapers, eventually authoring more literary work and ultimately his most well-known plays, including Ivanov, The Seagull, and Uncle Vanya. He died of tuberculosis in 1904, and is regarded as one of the best short story writers in history, influencing such authors as Ernest Hemingway, Vladimir Nabokov, and Raymond Carver.