NABOKV-L post 0018962, Tue, 15 Dec 2009 11:52:41 -0200

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Fw: [NABOKV-L] David Lodge on Laura
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Carolyn Kunin: David Lodge is surprisingly kind to Laura in The Literary Review...*

JM: Wasn't it instead strikingly kind to Dmitri, kind of a "politelly correct" item?
Lodge simply recognized that Nabokov is very Nabokovian, as it was to be expected - but he immediately went on to discuss Dmitri's editorial projects and certain accidental serendipities not planned by VN:
"The work has been lavishly and reverently designed and produced...the subtitle...was presumably not Nabokov's...The last recto page of the book reproduces...a fitting tailpiece to the book, but it was not of course Nabokov who placed it there... The way the manuscript has been ingeniously edited and reproduced overcomes to a large extent the disappointment and frustration ... it achieves an interesting aesthetic effect unintended by the author...the physical marks on the index cards...the tantalising space he left to be filled in later...an effect akin to a caesura in poetry...and... Nabokov's notes to himself.
Lodge summarized it very aptly in the end: "Is it, as the blurb claims, Nabokov's 'final great book'? No. Does it contain brilliant, funny, astonishing sentences only Nabokov could have written? Yes. Should it have been preserved and published? Definitely."
One of the most interesting reviews in my opinion is one that remains unstranslated, namely, "O escritor e suas ferramentas*" by Almir de Freitas (Bravo,dez.2009).

Summing hastily up: Freitas stresses the fairy-tale importance of the circumstances which encase the note-cards (themselves, "a heap of scraps") because, for him, in these events lie the true, real to life's deceits that constitute the "nabokovian story" which involves death, ghosts, money: ("Mas a história do manuscrito - que envolve morte, dinheiro e até fantasmas - é tipicamente nabokoviana").
Freitas skilfully inserts informations which were not often mentioned in the abundant reviews flooding our list. He departs from one interview where Nabokov introduced Laura, he adds information from Boyd's biography and a description of his initial reactions and a later change of heart, he includes a summary of conclusions arrived by other reviewers. Next he links these items, extending them from "The Opposite of Laura" to Jeff Edmund's 1998 Desommelier invention.
Freitas becomes a story-teller in his own right when dealing Dmitri's legendary dimension, his feats and accidents, like a spectacular fall from a climb over at the Teton mountains, a near-death experience with a light seen in the end of a dark tunnel, his "Lolito" nickname, the Hamletian indecision confronting a fatherly ghost. Even the emergence of agent Wylie is woven into the fable that turns Nabokov, the writer, into one of his own creations inserted in another novel inside a novel that matches Laura's.

*"Ferramentas" is the word for "tools" - Nabokov's being a pencil with a sharp point at one end and an erasor at the other - both equally significant...(he acknowledges B.Boyd's use of this meaning for "tool")

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