Whatever I have done, wherever I have gone, be it asleep, awake or in darkness, as a young man or an old one, I was always on the tip of a sunbeam."" These closing words of Olesha's autobiography-in-fragments directly bear upon the lucent nature of his early stories (see the fiction section, above) and also, less flatteringly, upon the fact that not once in this memoir, published after his death in 1960, is there a faint suggestion that his Russian writer-colleagues had been treated like vermin for 30 years. Olesha sunnily recalls his Odessan youth (he saw the Potemkin fire upon the city), the Rishelvesky Gymnasium, the birth of Russian soccer and skydiving. His enthusiasm for circuses is as bright as that for Dante. He gossips a little about Mayakovsky and Esenin; about Tolstoy he's suitably awed. He recommends H. G. Wells, Mark Twain, and Delacroix's journals. He knows his literary self: ""I turn everything toward the image."" He likes dogs, chimps, peafowl, cats, even rats. Though he knows better, in old age he's not convinced that he'll ever die. Shaped with purposeful naivete (which accentuates, unfortunately, the hear/see/talk-no-evil), the fragments are agreeable but little more. Judson Rosengrant provides a leaden introduction, but his translation of the text is supple enough.