Books: Gamesman the Man From the U.S.S.R. & Other Plays

by Vladimir Nabokov Harcourt Brace Jovanovich 342 pages; $24.95

There are two kinds of people: those who divide things into two categories and those who do not. Vladimir Nabokov is the first kind. In one of his earliest U.S. lectures, the Russian emigre told his classes at Stanford University that there were, essentially, "verb plays and adjective plays, plain plays of action and florid plays of characterization."

In The Man from the U.S.S.R., four dramas make their first appearance in English, translated by the author's son Dmitri. All are adjectival, although an occasional verb wriggles by to enliven the proceedings. All glisten with the celebrated Nabokovian cunning; all are souvenirs...

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