Anton Chekhov is recognized as one of the great short-story writers of all time. His experimentation with the form led to innovations in theme and structure that have influenced generations of writers. The theme of isolation, a common one among Chekhov’s works, is found in ‘‘Gooseberries,’’ as is the use of an unusual structure.
In 1898 Chekhov published three stories that are generally considered a trilogy because of their similarities of form. The three stories are ‘‘The Man in a Shell,’’ ‘‘About Love,’’ and ‘‘Gooseberries.’’ Each story concerns a person who seeks to avoid contact with the world. Each story includes the same characters, and in each story one of them is telling a story about someone else. The complexity of this trilogy is typical of Chekhov’s writing during the last years of his life.