Dear short story collection,
It’s not you, it’s me. I only knew Vladimir Nabokov from his exquisite Lolita, a tale which, if not quintessentially American, conjures a sort of louche Riviera frame of mind, and I think that’s what I expected from you, too. I hadn’t expected quite so much Russianness, though that wasn’t so bad, even in such a large dose. It was the Baltic chill that really slowed my progress, a freezing of the blood and brain that caused me to struggle through the last hundred-odd pages, admiring the craft displayed in the words even as I couldn’t muster any enthusiasm for their meaning. And there were some really good, really lovely stories in here, that I commented on as I passed them. It was just too much for me, in the end, and when I finally finished you it was more with a sense of relief than anything else.
Let us part friends, agreeing never to meet again, but with a mutual respect for our strengths, even if they are not quite compatible.