. . . The day before yesterday I was at L. N. Tolstoy’s; he praised you very highly and said that you were “a remarkable writer.” He likes your “The Fair” and “In the Steppe” and does not like “Malva.” He said: “You can invent anything you like, but you can’t invent psychology, and in Gorky one comes across just psychological inventions: he describes what he has never felt.”
Yes, life when it is not a psychological invention is a difficult business. . . .
Letter of Anton Chekhov to Gorky (April 25, 1899)