Books: Dear Mr. Nakobov

MARY by Vladimir Nabokov. 114 pages. McGraw Hill. $6.95.

Many thanks for the copy of Mary, your first novel. We receive a great many first novels from new authors anxious to have their work appraised in these columns. Unfortunately it is difficult to accommodate all but a small percentage of promising new fiction in our limited space.

In your case, there is an added difficulty. Mary appears to have been written 45 years ago in Russian. Furthermore, your introduction contains many things that the average English-speaking reader may have trouble with. You say, for example, that the novel was originally titled Mashenka, with...

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