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I personally like the way Chekhov leads the reader down a familiar ghost story path, only to trick us later, but still manages to flag up enough signals so that we are always ahead of the poor gatekeeper. The style is slightly awkward (but we are talking about a story written over a hundred years ago, and delivered here in translation), but still feels modern in many ways - especially when compared to other stories from that era. It's interesting how many classic stories have evolved around gatekeepers and watchmen... from Chekhov to Kafka, Alan Moore and even Harper Lee, most recently.