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Laughter in the Dark

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Overview

Albinus, a respectable, middle-aged man and aspiring filmmaker, abandons his wife for a lover half his age: Margot, who wants to become a movie star herself. When Albinus introduces her to Rex, an American movie producer, disaster ensues. What emerges is an elegantly sardonic and irresistibly ironic novel of desire, deceit, and deception, a curious romance set in the film world of Berlin in the 1930s.

A malicious comedy of desire, deception, and denial played out ...

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Laughter in the Dark

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Overview

Albinus, a respectable, middle-aged man and aspiring filmmaker, abandons his wife for a lover half his age: Margot, who wants to become a movie star herself. When Albinus introduces her to Rex, an American movie producer, disaster ensues. What emerges is an elegantly sardonic and irresistibly ironic novel of desire, deceit, and deception, a curious romance set in the film world of Berlin in the 1930s.

A malicious comedy of desire, deception, and denial played out against the background of the film world of 1930's Berlin.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Published in Russian in 1932, the novel was translated into English by Nabokov himself in 1938. This edition, however, is based on the author's revised 1960 text. Nabokov again offers one of his sad, silly sots in the character of Albinus, an aging critic who abandons his faithful wife for a teenage mistress also involved with a younger man who takes joy in Albinus's destruction. Cheerful it's not. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
John Updike
“Nabokov writes prose the only way it should be written—that is, ecstatically.”
From the Publisher
"Nabokov writes prose the only way it should be written that is, a ecstatically." -- John Updike
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781441873194
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 2/28/2011
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Product dimensions: 2.12 (w) x 9.06 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

One of the twentieth century’s master prose stylists, Vladimir Nabokov was born in St. Petersburg in 1899. He studied French and Russian literature at Trinity College, Cambridge, then lived in Berlin and Paris, where he launched a brilliant literary career. In 1940 he moved to the United States, and achieved renown as a novelist, poet, critic and translator. He taught literature at Wellesley, Stanford, Cornell, and Harvard. In 1961 he moved to Montreux, Switzerland, where he died in 1977.

Biography

Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov was born on April 23, 1899, in St. Petersburg, Russia. The Nabokovs were known for their high culture and commitment to public service, and the elder Nabokov was an outspoken opponent of antisemitism and one of the leaders of the opposition party, the Kadets. In 1919, following the Bolshevik revolution, he took his family into exile. Four years later he was shot and killed at a political rally in Berlin while trying to shield the speaker from right-wing assassins.

The Nabokov household was trilingual, and as a child Nabokov was already reading Wells, Poe, Browning, Keats, Flaubert, Verlaine, Rimbaud, Tolstoy, and Chekhov, alongside the popular entertainments of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Jules Verne. As a young man, he studied Slavic and romance languages at Trinity College, Cambridge, taking his honors degree in 1922. For the next eighteen years he lived in Berlin and Paris, writing prolifically in Russian under the pseudonym Sirin and supporting himself through translations, lessons in English and tennis, and by composing the first crossword puzzles in Russian. In 1925 he married Vera Slonim, with whom he had one child, a son, Dmitri.

Having already fled Russia and Germany, Nabokov became a refugee once more in 1940, when he was forced to leave France for the United States. There he taught at Wellesley, Harvard, and Cornell. He also gave up writing in Russian and began composing fiction in English. In his afterword to Lolita he claimed: "My private tragedy, which cannot, and indeed should not, be anybody's concern, is that I had to abandon my natural idiom, my untrammeled, rich, and infinitely docile Russian tongue for a second-rate brand of English, devoid of any of those apparatuses -- the baffling mirror, the black velvet backdrop, the implied associations and traditions -- which the native illusionist, frac-tails flying, can magically use to transcend the heritage in his own way." [p. 317] Yet Nabokov's American period saw the creation of what are arguably his greatest works, Bend Sinister (1947), Lolita (1955), Pnin (1957), and Pale Fire (1962), as well as the translation of his earlier Russian novels into English. He also undertook English translations of works by Lermontov and Pushkin and wrote several books of criticism. Vladimir Nabokov died in Montreux, Switzerland, in 1977.

Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Vladimir Sirin
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 23, 1899
    2. Place of Birth:
      St. Petersburg, Russia
    1. Date of Death:
      July 2, 1977
    2. Place of Death:
      Montreux, Switzerland

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A precursor to Lolita, still lovely

    this is a perfect precursor to the later Lolita. nabokov's obsession with pairing deadly, bittersweet girls with broken, older men must have begun somewhere around here, and in a way, he does a better job of capturing the hopelessness and sadness of the pairing by aging up his temptress and demonizing her a bit. i read this in about two days, having been unable to put it down, and highly recommend it. one would assume this is all he can write and might see the futility in that, but once his pieces are read all assumptions diminish before the clarity of his truths and the grandeur of the simplest sentences. his characters, with traits repeated, are still refreshing, and while Lolita, in all its sombre moments and dense descriptions, still felt somewhat light, laughter in the darkness is genuinely dark, each character touched by a certain evil, as if all their fingertips were dipped in black ink.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 2, 2012

    Laughter in the Dark is reminiscent of Lolita and contains the s

    Laughter in the Dark is reminiscent of Lolita and contains the same elements of Lust and the power that it can have over the characters. However, the writing is not as clear as in Lolita and I found at times that I missed something that I did not realize had happened. I found myself re-reading certain parts to make sure I understood what had transpired. For example, at the end of the novel when Albinus is shot; I found at first it seemed he was stabbed by something and I was unsure if it was Margot or someone else. However, Nabokov's prose in this book are just as wonderful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2009

    Nabokov the literary master!

    I highly recommend Laughter in the Dark as a primer for anyone who wants to get a feel for Nabokov's brilliant work.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2002

    the anna nicole smith of literature

    this is the best nabakov book i've read (i've read 7 of them). a young, starving actress gets in good with a man who can make her dreams of fame come true. he is older, but flattered by this young starlet's attentions and believes them to be genuine. but when he goes blind, he begins to 'see' her for the woman she really is. if this was a movie, i'd cast drew barrymore as the starlet, josh hartnett as her lover, and billy bob thornton as the protagonist.

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    Posted October 20, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2009

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