Undoubtedly, the British meaning is intended, although VN would have damned that amusement park inside his head, but welcomed the spinal slide of a thrill.
A. Bouazza.
-----Original Message-----
From: Vladimir Nabokov Forum [mailto:NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU]On Behalf Of Alexander Drescher
Sent: 24 January 2007 15:15
Subject: Re: [NABOKV-L] Nabokovs brain is shaped like a helter-skelter ...

To the List:
This is aninteresting article. Smith's view of fiction seems antithetical to that of VNN.
But my question is:

Main Entry: 2helter-skelter
Function: noun
1:a disorderly confusion :TURMOIL
British :a spiral slide around a tower at an amusement park

Which does she mean?

Sandy Drescher

On Tuesday, January 23, 2007, at 05:08 PM, Sandy P. Klein wrote:


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Fail Better

<image.tiff>ì... somewhere between a criticís necessary superficiality and a writerís natural dishonesty, the truth of how we judge literary success or failure is lost.î

In a two article series for The Guardian, Zadie Smith (White Teeth, On Beauty) doesnít pull any literary punches. Smithís lengthy, two-part piece is wonderful, managing as it does to be both accessible (ìThatís how young readers are, too, when they start out. They are doubters and seekers.î) and urbane (She quotes both Kierkegaard and Nobokov while somehow never losing her of-the-reading-masses tone).

I have said that when I open a book I feel the shape of another human beingís brain. To me, Nabokovís brain is shaped like a helter-skelter. George Eliotís is like one of those pans for sifting gold. Austenís resembles one of the glass flowers you find in Harvardís Natural History Museum.

Thereís so much here that is terrific, the temptation is just to quote and quote and quote: most of what Smith shares in the space is worth repeating. But Iíll save both of us the effort: part one is here, put two is here. Savor it for yourself.

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