NABOKV-L post 0020836, Tue, 5 Oct 2010 21:34:09 -0400

Clarification: Recent Post on "Ada poems" publication
[I am resending Sophie Huber's recent post, with the addition of the
blurb that prompted it, for clarity's sake. - SES]

Sophie Huber writes:

I haven't read this book, so I wouldn't know if it is as much an affront
VN's work as previous derivatives ("Lo's Diary," anyone?)--but the
publisher's book description is unreassuring: it describes Van as
Ada's "half brother" and Ada herself as "witty [and] tender" (cf.
Nabokov's own characterization of her as "bitchy and lewd.") While the
latter is possibly defensible, the genealogical imbroglio (overlooked by

both Random House and, presumably, Zarin herself) seems pretty

Product Description

A dazzling story of obsessive love emerges in Cynthia Zarin’s luminous
new book inspired and inhabited by the title character of Nabokov’s
novel Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle, who was the lifelong love of
her half brother, Van.

These electric poems are set in a Nabokovian landscape of memory in
which real places, people, and things—the exploration of the Hudson
River, Edwardian London, sunflowers, Chekhov, Harlem, decks of cards,
the death of Solzhenitsyn, morpho butterflies—collide with the speaker’s
own protean tale of desire and loss. With a string of brilliant
contemporary sonnets as its spine, the book is a headlong display of
mastery and sorrow: in the opening poem, “Birch,” ... Read more

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