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The Secret History of Vladimir Nabokov

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  • Posted May 1, 2013

    I've been reading (and re-reading) Nabokov for more than 30 year

    I've been reading (and re-reading) Nabokov for more than 30 years. I love his books.
    As a former prosecutor and a cynical, and practical, lawyer, I thought that I paid close attention to language and details.

    Reading The Secret History of Vladimir Nabokov has been a truly humbling, and exhilarating, experience in which I am reminded how risky it is to take anything for granted when I read. I marvel at the insights, historical and other, that Pitzer illuminates in Nabokov's work. It is humbling to realize how much I uncritically skimmed over that was right before my eyes.

    Charles Kinbote’s journey, and his relationship with John Shade, take on new dimensions if Kinbote’s escape was not from some fictitious kingdom, but from a place of horror. If you know about Humbert Humbert’s teenage romance, his obsession with Lolita years later is placed in a different context when you realize in full the fate of her “precursor.” I can never again lazily assume that what I failed to grasp in some sentence can be safely ignored as some detached, apolitical, literary indulgence.

    This book is a must-read -- and a complete joy -- for anyone who appreciates the majesty of Nabokov’s writing and his contribution to literature. I picked it up and couldn’t put it down until 3:30 a.m., when I turned the last page and wanted to start all over, this time with the corresponding Nabokov novel in my lap. Ms. Pitzer’s work is a real treasure – I cannot recommend it strongly enough.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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