Among the questions that are never definitively answered are the following. Is Zembla a real country in the made-up world of the novel or is it, like Bakov’s Russian Empire, the yield of one man’s colorful imagining? In a letter sent to Nabokov’s publisher before Pale Fire was released, Vera refused to allow that Zembla was “non-existent.” Rather, she wrote, “Nobody knows, nobody should know—even Kinbote hardly knows—if Zembla really exists.” And where, exactly, are the Zemblan “crown jewels” to which our narrator repeatedly refers because his totalitarian successors never successfully chivvy them out of their undisclosed hiding place in the Zemblan palace, which becomes King Charles’ temporary prison? In the appendix to Pale Fire, which of course constitutes part of the novel itself, the entry for “Crown Jewels” leads to another entry for “Hiding place,” which leads to “Potaynik” (the Zemblan word for “secret place”), which leads to “Taynik” (the Russian word for it), which leads back to “Crown Jewels” — an infinite regression loop, in other words, and one of Nabokov’s parting tricks. Finally, what is Kinbote’s “extraordinary secret,” which he claims Shade came close to figuring out? Superficially this would seem to mean his identity as the last king of Zembla, but it could also refer to his tortured proclivity for “faunlets” (the male version of nymphets, of which Lolita is the most recognized specimen), or to something else entirely.