From the introduction by Ivan Strannik: The interest of these stories does not lie in the unraveling of an intricate plot. They are rather fragments of life, bits of biography covering some particular period, without reaching the limits of a real drama. And these are no more artificially combined than are the events of real life. Everything that he relates, Gorky has seen. Maxim Gorky is the pen name of Aleksei Maksimovich Peshkov -- orphaned at the age of nine, he was raised by his grandmother, a story-teller, who imprinted on him a love for tales and travel. All of his varied jobs and the places, people and situations he encountered on his way can be found in his stories.