Impressionistic and bold, the nine stories in this collection frame the middle period of Chekhov's career. Exploring both complicated and intense emotions, Chekhov presents a world without simple answers or universal truths. "Ward No. 6" is a savage indictment of the medical profession. "The Black Monk," the story of a scholar who has strange hallucinations, explores ideas of genius and insanity. "A Woman's Kingdom" and "Three Years" show women discovering that money, marriage, and choices do not necessarily bring happiness. In "Murder" religious fervor leads to violence, while in "The Student" a young man recounts a tale from the gospels and undergoes a sudden spiritual epiphany. Also in this volume are "The Grasshopper," "Adriana," and "The Two Volodyas."