Thirteen strangely wrought stories make up Nabokov's baker's dozen.
In some of these stories shadowy people pass through, cooped up by life, mangled by it, with nowhere to escape to. Their dreams lie stifled, smothered by routine and repetition, and frustrations lurk in all the corners. In others, elusive glimpses of fleeting happiness, which flutter away before they can be snatched, waylay their victims. Like the shimmer of the sea, the gleam of a glass caught by the sun, they sparkle brilliantly only to dissolve again. Two of the stories, 'First Love' and 'Mademoiselle O', are autobiographical, and 'The Assistant Producer' is based on real events, but the rest are pure flights of fantasy - or the stuff that life is weaved of?