Books: Butterflies Are Free

LOOK AT THE HARLEQUINS

by VLADIMIR NABOKOV 253 pages. McGraw-Hill. $7.95.

At 75 the old artificer has written one of his slyest and funniest books. Admirers who sloped off muttering after a struggle with the intricacies of Ada are urged to reopen their hearts. Look at the Harlequins comes in the form of memoirs by the distinguished Russian-born novelist Vadim Vadimych N., a cranky exquisite who laments piteously the high initial cost and outrageous maintenance expense of owning an artistic soul. This gent, at the time of writing, is a formidable old illusion-monger with...

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