Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0023336, Sun, 23 Sep 2012 21:40:25 -0300

Re: SIGHTING re: David Mitchell and VN
Samuel Schuman [ on a blog indicated by Juan Martinez:Nabokovilia ...] "Below...are some comments I made at the recent Auckland conference regarding Nabokov, David Mitchell, and Cloud Atlas:.. David Mitchell is the author of five novels. He has not infrequently been compared to Nabokov and to Pynchon... Like Chabon, he has been generous and overt in his praise of VN...It seems to me, though, that Mitchell's most Nabokovian trait is his ability to construct a narrative which is, flamboyantly and self-consciously, a fictional narrative, and yet is at the same time humanly engaging, even compelling...."

Jansy Mello: The investigation about who influenced who, or has been quoted, is always a fascinating one. Quite recently I was struck by something Nabokovian in "Aire de Dylan" (2012) when Enrique Vila-Matas's character, Vilnius, extensive research to verify the authorship of a sentence is shown [it's related to the feeling of solitude that, particularly in the late evenings, moves a person to search for the company of other people (Fitzgerald's? Mankiewicz's? His own?)]. He confesses that after his father's death he began to feel his presence at odd moments, as if he were trying to infiltrate his personal recollections into his son's memories.
The narrator notes, during a conversation with Vilnius, that reality can allow herself the luxury of being incredible and unexplainable, although fictional works cannot enjoy the same degree of freedom. This particular line reminded me of VN's comments about coincidences in life and in fiction (cf. Strong Opinions)*.

Nabokov's early childhood experiences, lovingly recreated in "Speak,Memory," blended with his other diarists's reports (such as Humbert), and items from his biography, are carefully mingled in Vila-Mata's novels (perhaps parodying Vilnius's quandary by his father's invasive recollections), particularly the most recent one, whose theme evolves around true and false memories that guarantee a person's afterlife by preying on a living person's mind. The impossibility of exactly pin-pointing references and quotes, or recognizing the influence former writers have on aspiring new writers (described by the investigations being pursued by Vilnius), is another subject that relates to Nabokov.

In a previous novel, Nabokov has been directly indicated and this is what I recovered from the internet (there are other items sent out to the VN-L archives last year ** ): "Riba is fascinated by the stranger wearing a macintosh encountered by Bloom at the funeral, perhaps because he too often sees mysterious strangers: a man wearing a Nehru jacket staring at him from the street outside his parents' home, who Riba then spies again on his taxi ride home. What does he signify? Is there a connection? Perhaps his fascination with Ulysses agitates excessive awareness. He wonders if Nabokov is right that the man in the macintosh is Joyce himself, a portrait of the author as friend to the dead." This Space: A Provisional Miracle: Dublinesque by Enrique Vila Matas.
this-space.blogspot.com/.../provisional-miracle-d... -


* - Although I tried to locate the quote about the difference between real life coincidences, and how they feel contrived in a novel, I couldn't find the one I have in mind, but only another one that's related to Tolstoy and "War and Peace"(Vintage, p.147-8)"I derive no pleasure from its cumbersome message, from the didactic interludes, from the artificial coincidences, with cool Prince Andrey turning up to witness this or that historical moment..."

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