Following Chekhov to the ‘end of the world’

Why did Anton Chekhov travel in 1890 to Sahkalin Island, at the “end of the world”, where Russia was sending 20,000 prisoners a year? In seeking to answer that question, William Atkins (winner of the Stanford Dolman prize for The Immeasurable World) spent part of spring last year on Sakhalin. His haunting piece for Granta magazine, which went online in November, can be read for the moment without charge. On Twitter, Atkins is also recommending an “excellent” New Yorker essay by Akhil Sharma (from 2015) on Chekhov’s Sakhalin book.

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