The Suitcase

by Sergei Dovlatov. Grove Weidenfeld, $16.95. Mr. Dovlatov left the Soviet Union with one suitcase—at least, so he claims for purposes of satirical entertainment—and his dourly amusing book describes its worthless contents and their absurd or illegal origins. The episodes are in fact short stories, differing in plot and setting but alike in depicting the Soviet Union as a place where nothing ever works properly, nothing ever gets done correctly, and nobody is ever sober.