I just happened last night to attend a talk by Thomas Lehr, German
author of several novels including Nabokovs Katze and 42.
I managed afterwards to have a lengthy discussion with him about
Nabokov, and I have a few items that list readers might find
interesting. I should preface my report with the disclaimer that I
have not read Mr. Lehr's works.
First of all, the "Cat" in the title refers to an interview included in
the German collection of interviews, in which Nabokov, asked how it
feels to give bits of "personal past" to various characters in his art,
replied that it is like lending something (a cat?) to a neighbor and
never getting it back. I have not seen all of the German interviews:
can one of our German list-members give a precise quotation and
reference based on this information? (A perusal of Strong Opinions
leads me to believe that it is not in that collection). The novel, Mr.
Lehr suggests, is "devoted entirely" to VN in that it employs a
Nabokovian approach to the incorporation of autobiographical material
into the fictional work.
Mr. Lehr also says that his most recent novel, 42, is equally
inspired by Nabokov, including a setting in Montreux at the Palace
Hotel; one real and one imagined statue of VN; and play with "the
Mr. Lehr has been most influenced by Ada, which is his
favorite VN novel. He finds "seriousness through humor" one of the
most compelling artistic facets of VN's work. I told him of the recent
discussion springing from the list's mention of his novel a month or so
ago, and he was especially appreciative of Sandy Klein's and Dmitri
Nabokov's posted link to the blinking, mouse-grabbing cat, "Maukie".
Lehr's novels have not been translated into English.