This early Nabokov novel is not of the mindbending genius of later works like Pale Fire and Lolita, but it is still better than even the best work by many other writers.
Nabokov is a brilliant stylist and imagines the world of his protagonist brillantly. The phrasing is sparse and compelling, but as the main character’s mind starts to disintegrate, so does the book. The last third is a bit of a disppotment. A disappointment only because its a Nabokov novel, and I’ve come to expect such great things for him. Its worth the time, especially if you have an interest in chess, but I’d read his later works first.
Recommended for the enthusiast.