I have to admit, Nabokov’s Mary started a bit slow. I kept rolling back a chapter every week or so without ever pushing over the halfway hump. But I picked up two new books at a used book sale today (the oft-recommended One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Ian McEwan’s Enduring Love; I didn’t intend such a titular dichotomy, they just happened to be the first two books I laid eyes on), and I needed to finish the one before starting the others. I had no idea that over that halfway hump would be a fairly suspenseful downhill ride through a nostalgic first-love story, one that ends in an unexpected way. As enamored as I am with Nabokov’s dark and poignant character studies, I’m happy to move on to other, non-Russian authors for a while.
Good news? Probably not, if you’re Nabokov’s ghost:
Having kept the literary world in a state of suspense for years over whether he was prepared to carry out his long-standing threat to burn his father’s last novel, Dmitri Nabokov has finally announced that he is prepared to save it from destruction.
Vladimir Nabokov’s The Original of Laura will now not be thrown onto the flames, the 73-year-old has told Der Spiegel magazine, arguing that his father, the creator of Lolita and Pale Fire who died in 1977, would not want his son to suffer any more over his most tortuous dilemma.
[Previously discussed here.]
For the love of pants, no!
Here is your chance to weigh in on one of the most troubling dilemmas in contemporary literary culture. I know I’m hopelessly conflicted about it. It’s the question of whether the last unpublished work of Vladimir Nabokov, which is now reposing unread in a Swiss bank vault, should be destroyed—as Nabokov explicitly requested before he died.It’s a decision that has fallen to his sole surviving heir (and translator), Dmitri Nabokov, now 73. Dmitri has been torn for years between his father’s unequivocal request and the demands of the literary world to view the final fragment of his father’s genius, a manuscript known as The Original of Laura. Should Dmitri defy his father’s wishes for the sake of “posterity”?