"A Dreary Story" (aka "A Boring Story") is one of Chekhov's enduring works. A long short story or short novella, it is narrated by a dying professor of medicine charting his own decline. The professor has ascended to a high station of honor and fame, but the accolades provide little comfort during the final stages of his life. At a time when he should retreat to the comforts of friends and family, he finds that intimate connections have been the cost of living a selfish and self-absorbed life. Chekhov takes us on a tour of his relationships with his family and step-daughter Katia as the old professor becomes reconciled to the consequences of his life.
The story was influenced by the death of Chekhov's brother Nikolay from tuberculosis in 1889 and probably also included some deep personal introspection as Chekhov searched for meaning within his own life.