Books: Soviet Laughter

THE EMBEZZLERS—Valentine Kataev—Dial ($2.50).

The Russians may not be essentially a jolly race, but somewhere about their bearded persons lurks a kind of laughing madness. If you thought them gloomy, morbid, humorless, you should have read Chekhov or Gogol's Dead Souls. Rather than go to the library for an old book, read Kataev's The Embezzlers.

A chief accountant in a government office in Moscow, one Philip Stephanovitch Prohcroff, gets unaccountably drunk the night before pay day, aided by the office porter and the cashier, young Ivan. Next morning they find .themselves, with...

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