NABOKV-L post 0018768, Thu, 12 Nov 2009 07:17:20 -0500

Sighting - Nabokov,
Meet 50 Cent: Zadie Smith's Changing My Mind ...

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Nabokov, Meet 50 Cent: Zadie Smith's Changing My Mind
The novelist gathers up a wide collection of her essays .
By Zach Baron
Tuesday, November 10th 2009 at 2:56pm

AP Photo/Sergio Dionisio
Was E.M. Forster ever so dramatically lit?
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"Zebra cocktail!" That's the kicker to "Rereading Barthes and Nabokov," a Pnin quote repurposed here to express pure delight at Nabokov's way with an image—in this case, the sight of a comb sheltering behind a glass of water. One of the collection's finer experiences is watching a writer with a good ear pick out the details in books she admires. In an essay on Kafka, Smith notes apropos of very little that for both the Czech fabulist and Philip Larkin, "modern heating appliances appear to have served as synecdoche for what one might call the Feminine Mundane"—central heating, in other words, posited as the great through line bisecting 50 years and two continental variations on casual misogyny.

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