NABOKV-L post 0020859, Sun, 10 Oct 2010 22:47:39 -0400

SIGHTING: Nabokov in the Financial Times' weekend book section

From "Love and exile", The Financial Times' John Thornhill's review (alas, not online) of _The Life of an Unknown Man_ by Andrei Makine, translated by Geoffrey Strachan:
"Enthusiastic reviewers have compared the novels of the Russian-French writer Andrei Makine to the works of such master stylists as Chekhov, Nabokov, Turgenev or Proust, and there can be no denying that much of the writing in Makine's latest novel _The Life of an Unknown Man_ is dazzling and hauntingly elegiac."
"All books, it is sometimes said, contain their own criticism and that is true with this novel too. In a discussion on literature, one of the novel's protagonists criticises Nabokov for being clever rather than brilliant, for loving words for their own sake rather than for what they say. 'He writes like a butterfly collector: he catches a beautiful insect, kills it with formalin, impales it on a pin. And he does the same thing with words.' The same could be said of Makine. His authorial presence often weighs too heavily in this novel, distorting the clarity of thought or the narrative flow."

On the facing page, Nabokov is mentioned en passant in a review of Patrick Barkham's _The Butterfly Isles: A Summer in Search of Our Emperors and Admirals_: "Vladimir Nabokov was a butterfly aficionado: to the great novelist, lepidoptera were as rewarding as writing."
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