Nabokov’s Finale ...
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Amid the attention given to Dmitri Nabokov’s recent publication of his father’s “final novel” The Original of Laura (a stack of notes and fragments the late genius did not live to structure and develop), I decided to turn instead to Nabokov’s real final novel, finished and published in 1974: Look at the Harlequins! To my surprise this much-maligned book, often dismissed as a minor exercise in self-parody, planted a big smile on my face with its first words, then pulled me in and continued to delight me, page after page, through to its end. I’m baffled as to how any literary critic, least of all an admirer of Nabokov, could mistake the ingenuity of this brilliant comic novel for mere self-indulgence. While I wouldn’t place it at the absolute pinnacle of its author’s mountain of achievements, it is a remarkable pleasure in its own right, like a delicious dessert: a treat I’m glad I didn’t miss.
Pictured: Father and son. (Estate of Vladimir Nabokov.)
Posted by Robert at 11:20 PM
Labels: Dmitri Nabokov , Look at the Harlequins, The Original of Laura, Vladimir Nabokov
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