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Invitation to a Beheading

Average Rating 4.5
( 12 )
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  • Posted May 16, 2011

    Amazing Story, Amazing Writing

    Invitation to a Beheading by Vladimir Nabokov is a fictional masterpiece. Nabokov takes the reader through an adventure following the main character, Cincinnatus C, a man given the death sentence for a crime called, "gnostical turpitude" which, in the unnamed fantasy world he lives in, defines definition. The book as a whole is very absurd, making many parts of it hard to follow because it goes out on such a tangent. However, the writing and the plot keeps the reader engaged and striving to look deeper into everything Nabokov says, expecting it to have another meaning.
    As the novel progresses, Cincinnatus starts to realize he can control his mind to such an extent that he can travel into his past, and control all of his actions. In fact, in almost every chapter, Cincinnatus relives a part of his life, imagines he is escaping the prison, and everybody is letting him, or even imagines somebody breaking him out. However, by the end of the chapter, Cincinnatus is always, sadly, back in his lonely cell.
    Also adding to the absurdity of the novel, Cincinnatus is never told his execution date, and whenever he asks, he is looked upon as though it was a ridiculous question. In addition to the absurdity, throughout the novel Cincinnatus is visited by various people. The guard on duty, who will randomly burst out into song and dance to try to keep Cincinnatus happy, his lawyer, who gives him an envelope with "case files" in it, who, after Cincinnatus tears the envelope in half, says his pardon may have been in there, and his in-laws, who try to make his situation better by moving into the cell.
    Altogether, the novel is a masterpiece, mixing the amazing writing and creativity of Nabokov with the absurdity and writing style of Kafka. I would recommend this book to any reader looking for a great read. However, be prepared for some very absurd, and often humorous situations, that may be hard to follow if you aren't paying close attention to the reading.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 1999

    'A Violin in a Void'

    Although Nabokov called this book a simple-stand alone piece of heart, 'A violin in a void,' this work explores the issues confronting artists in Germany and the Soviet Union in the 1930's. Nabokov writes masterfully, in a way that is neither didactic nor narrowly focused, allowing anyone who has an imagination or is prone to daydreaming to understand the problems of an individual versus society.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2011

    "i know a few readers will jump up, ruffling their hair."

    The language, subtlety, and symbolism in this book make it a captivating read. The ending leaves you bereft but in a good way. When I read this book for the first time, I was disoriented with trying to figure out the world Nabokov created. Since then, I've read it a few more times and each time, I notice something I missed before.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2013

    Amazing

    Lolita will always be my favorite read of his but Invitation To A Beheafing is a close second.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2013

    Eye poping/ confusion & awe!

    Love, love, LOVED IT!

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  • Posted March 1, 2013

    A must read!

    I can't believe I just found out about this terrific writer. I read Lolita and decided to read an Invitation to a Beheading, but this is a sad story, and I love it.

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    Posted September 4, 2011

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    Posted September 6, 2014

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    Posted January 18, 2009

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    Posted March 20, 2009

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