Books: Pachyderm in a Panic

LAUGHTER IN THE DARK (292 pp.)—Vladimir Nabokov — New Directions ($3.50).

This book, first published in 1938, is one of Vladimir Nabokov's prehumous works. Like The Real Life of Sebastian Knight and Invitation to a Beheading, it was buried under critical neglect and popular apathy when it appeared, is now gaining a second life through the continuing Lolita boom. But Laughter in the Dark only superficially resembles Lolita; it is closer to the Heinrich Mann novel that became The Blue Angel, the famed Marlene Dietrich film of the same general setting and period....

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