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For the past fifteen years Zephyr Press has been home to the immigrant communities of Jack Pulaski. Puerto Rican, Russian-Jewish, and Italian cultures collide in homage to the passions and histories that fuel our waking and dreaming lives. Pulaski’s stories weave the myriad characters into a fable where the sacred and profane are inextricably wed.


The novel Chekhov Was a Doctor is structured as a triptych that first follows Davey as a small boy through the streets of Brooklyn, next to the turmoil of army bases in Japan and Korea, and then finally back to the Bronx and Lower East Side of New York as he and Elena await the birth of their first child.


As Pulaski has returned to the fiction of his life he’s more than surprised, but not shocked to recognize that an essential aspect of the same obsession has pulled him back—or propelled him forward. To learn what? He is only interested in the “creative process” inasmuch as it is a story.

And again a love story. A protagonist discovering the terms of his life, which are the always to be discovered requirements of his art: a peculiar virginal state, more promising than Candide’s dogmatic optimism.


Pulaski recognizes that there is still something he is trying to get right—to discover. He is of necessity a slow learner, incapable of trusting illustrative thematic questions; his only option is to travel with the protagonists of Chekhov Was A Doctor, Davey and Elena, to see what he can see. They bear unmistakable affinities with Laura Providencia and Isaac, the lovers in his previous novel, Courting Laura Providencia. Still, the souls of Elena and Davey are their own, as is their adventure and what they enact should provide the author with further education, and the reader with (hopefully) the idiosyncratic gratifications of a tale of significant ambition.

Chekhov Was a Doctor, by Jack Pulaski

  • Chekhov Was a Doctor
    Jack Pulaski
    ISBN 0-939010-81-X (paper)
    5¼ x 8
    200 pages

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