Mary

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Overview

Mary is a gripping tale of youth, first love, and nostalgia—Nabokov's first novel. In a Berlin rooming house filled with an assortment of seriocomic Russian émigrés, Lev Ganin, a vigorous young officer poised between his past and his future, relives his first love affair. His memories of Mary are suffused with the freshness of youth and the idyllic ambience of pre-revolutionary Russia. In stark contrast is the decidedly unappealing boarder living in the room next to Ganin's, who, he discovers, is Mary's husband, ...
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Mary

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Overview

Mary is a gripping tale of youth, first love, and nostalgia—Nabokov's first novel. In a Berlin rooming house filled with an assortment of seriocomic Russian émigrés, Lev Ganin, a vigorous young officer poised between his past and his future, relives his first love affair. His memories of Mary are suffused with the freshness of youth and the idyllic ambience of pre-revolutionary Russia. In stark contrast is the decidedly unappealing boarder living in the room next to Ganin's, who, he discovers, is Mary's husband, temporarily separated from her by the Revolution but expecting her imminent arrival from Russia.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780141032900
  • Publisher: Gardners Books
  • Publication date: 8/2/2007

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
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    An Outstanding Tale of Nostalgic First Love

    This book is an insightful story of young love, and lost. change & lost. The setting takes place in Russia during the uprowl of the revolution. Ganin often keeps remembering his first love Mary, and their deep romance. But it years has passed and life took them to a whole different direction, and now Ganin has found out that his eternal Mary is not his anymore. Let me stop before I ruin the story before anyone reads it. This great novel was beautifully written by Valdimir Nobokov. "Mary" was not a difficult at all, and it is totally worth reading.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2007

    A reviewer

    This was a unique story of love, change & lost. It's wasn't a complicated suspense but very clever. Nabokov has done a wonderful writing in this novel.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2002

    fists full of love

    most people remember their first love as idyllic and life-changing. Lev, the protagonist, thought so too. until he is given the chance to see the first love he carelessly left behind again. he is torn by desire, regret, and fear. should he see her? should he try to love her again? suddenly this man's memories of a pastural romance turn turbid. classic war time love story.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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