NABOKV-L post 0018841, Mon, 23 Nov 2009 19:09:42 +0000

Re: TOoL
Michael Antman¹s review of TOoL seems the most percipient and evenly
balanced of those I¹ve seen so far. One can quibble at his initial
³hard-to-rate² verdict, subsequently vitiated by numerical points awarded
and averaged in the finest EuroVision Song Contest tradition! (Zembla: Sept
Points! AntiTerra: Nul points! Thule, the ultimate Winner! Offstage cries of
³Fie, fie! Fixe, fixe!²)

I agree with Antman and others in declaring TOoL, the physical product as
delivered by Penguin, a wondrous objet d¹art to grace any bookshelf,
matching the magic and mystery of TOoL the text, the almost-lost text, the
master¹s unfinished farewell. In my case, the format came as a complete
surprise. I opened the unusually heavy (and long awaited, long pre-ordered)
amazonian package and emitted a most unusual BOB (a sort of Cyrillic WOW?).
Were others bouleversed by the cover design (fading titles), typography,
and, least expected, the embedded replica handwritten, perforated note
cards? How could I have missed, with all the furious pre-speculation, any
hint of this publicational coup de foudre?

Risking first-name over-familiarity (see DN¹s introductory warning), I thank
Dmitri, Ron, Chip, Zuzana, et Alles. And I curse those who impute evil
motives in TOoL¹s salvation. In some sad parallel universe, the precious
cards are reduced to ashes. In yet another, unbelievably, unworldly Soviet
utopia, a censored TOoL might come from a not-for-profit People¹s Press,
with no nasty commercial marketing.

Still ahead for many of us: a careful, excited re-reading. (Entering my
ninth decade with fading omoplates and leftmost toes amputated, I have a
personal interest in Dr Wild¹s fate!) I see (by definition!) no adverse
impact on VN¹s imperishable reputation. We have been allowed a privileged
glimpse of tentative work-in-progress, and must not abuse that privilege.
Not without artistic precedent, of course. We have many scratched and
re-scribbled m/s¹s from, e.g., Keats and Beethoven.

PS on the following exchange:

Mark Bennett: The matter seems straightforward to me: whoever buys the
original note cards should burn them.
JM: A symbolic, artsy and self-defeating "auto de fé"?

I can only take Mark¹s comment as a sarcastic rebuke to those who urged DN
to incinerate, but I¹m not clear whether Jansy takes Mark literally?

Some of the pro-burners seem to me to be under-appreciative of the VN/DN
relationship, quite rare (unique?) in literature: beyond that of loving
father/son, they shared with Véra a close, life-long literary collaboration.
Who dares question Dmitri¹s decision?

Stan Kelly-Bootle

On 20/11/2009 14:08, "Christopher Guerin" <cguerin@AOL.COM> wrote:

> A review of Laura at
> <>
> The Original of Laura by Vladimir Nabokov
> [20 November 2009]
> By Michael Antman <>
> Genius Erased
> Here, at last, is Laura. The most eagerly awaited literary novel of this
> fledgling century is the posthumous and fragmentary work of the greatest
> writer of the second half of the last century,

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