Every time I finish a particularly difficult book, be it bad, or odd, or just confusing, I take a break with a Nabokov novel. They are always so clear and crisp and enjoyable, it’s like drinking a nice glass of cool water after a tiring time in the sun.
This time I’m reading the Luzhin Defense, the story of an anti-social, obsessive chess player who goes mad. As all Nabokov novels I’ve so far read, it is just a joy, and the prose is so delicious, my brain thanks me in much the way in thanks me for a good meal. And it always makes me smile, with little bits like this for example:
Little Luzhin would go away, trailing his satchel over the carpet; Luzhin senior would lean his elbow on the desk, where he was writing one of his usual stories in blue exercise books (a whim which, perhaps, some future biographer would appreciate), and listen to the monologue in the neighboring dining room, to his wife’s voice persuading the silence to drink a cup of cocoa.
Can you not just see that so clearly… the over optimistic father, the pouty child and coddling mother… all in just a few sentences.
Something about the way he writes is just very enjoyable and smilingly good for me…
This fun, funny, and darkly interesting novel is another masterpiece in the seemingly endless line of masterpieces from Nabokov.
This book has made me decide that I will no longer listen to any Nabokov books, and will read them all instead, because I am endlessly wanting to highlight things.
This story is about a woman’s affair with her nephew, Franz, and her husband, Dreyer’s, blissful ignorance of her, the nephew, and anyone’s needs or desires or thoughts other than his own. It’s about the Franz’s, inability to make decisions on his own, and his increasingly autonomous life. It’s about the woman, Martha’s, greed and distaste for her husband that consumers her both literally and metaphorically.
It’s also about the delicious, lyrical, humorous prose that always shines in every Nabokov novel I’ve had the pleasure of perusing.
So excited that I’ve got more Nabokov in my future…
I’ve started on another Nabokov novel, and just from the first pages I’m already smiling. The way he writes is just somehow so humorous and beautiful at the same time. Not funny like jokes or goofy characters, but funny because you can imagine someone just like that, or you can see that little quirk or familiar behavior in yourself.
I hope to write something some day that can affect someone with a smile or a cringe or a shudder or a laugh or a tear, or make them think…
I’m listening to another Nabokov novel, and no surprise, it’s great. This one is about a struggling businessman who also seems a bit mentally unstable, running across a vagrant who happens to look exactly like him.
The instant he sees this face, a plan sparks in his mind. You can tell, but, you don’t know what that plan is… and that is the mystery. Not how he is going to do something (he’s going to do it by using a look-alike in some way) but what he is going to do.
Since it’s Nabokov, I automatically suspect that this guy is way less smart than he thinks he is, and also that there is a lot going on between the lines. I’ve not yet discovered much, but it is fun searching for it.
You know it’s a funny book when just thinking about it throughout the day makes you burst out laughing.
Me trying to describe it would not do justice to its hilarity, you just have to read it yourself. But… something about this kind of character is just so amusing–the just smart enough to think they are a genius guy who is actually not so bright, the delusions of grandeur, the missing of obvious social cues, the massive overestimation of their own importance–it’s just, endlessly entertaining.
And the best part is you are SHOWN all this, instead of being told. You have to see it for yourself, and when you do, it’s like ‘oh my god, this guy!’
Read it, you won’t regret it, even just the first quarter of the book is worth it already.
Since the current thing I’m working on has a lot to do with obsession, I was recommended to read Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov. I got the audible version and so far am impressed by both the writing and the reading of it (narration by Jeremy Irons).
It’s always been interesting to me how people justify their actions to themselves. Rarely does anyone perceive themselves as a monster or a villain, yet people do monstrous and villainous things every day.
I’m only just at the beginning, and don’t know what terrible acts await, but so far Humbert Humbert comes across as awkwardly pitiable. An ordinary child doing ordinary childish things sends him into an internal frenzy he can barely contain. It’s humorous, in a sinking kind of way, imagining him tensing and sputtering as she sits innocently on his knee. Yet in his own words he paints such a dramatic picture of these events–every turn of her head, every look, every move, is impactful and powerful in his eyes. It’s very similar, actually, to listening to an adult extol the deep and powerful meaning and effect on them, of a child’s cartoon show(you know the one)–in a word: embarrassing.
I’m enjoying it a lot, and just from the start I can already tell why this is near the top of so many ‘best books’ lists. Quite a refreshing breath after my last read.