I have not read much Chekhov. I'm more of a Dostoevsky and Gogol reader, but it seems that Chekhov is in the air quite a bit lately. The Guardian has a interesting appreciation:
This elusiveness – a feature of both the life and the work – is a large part of what gives him his enduring fascination, as well as his striking modernity. In Chekhov literature seems to break its wand like Prospero, renouncing the magic of artifice, ceremony and idealisation, and facing us, for the first time, with a reflection of ourselves in our unadorned ordinariness as well as our unfathomable strangeness...more>>>
This critique has got me interested. If one was to begin with his short stories, what would you recommend?