When he was already an American writer


Thinking about the enthusiasm with which VN has been appropriated as an “American” writer has prompted me, though no mathematician, to do some calculating. VN lived for 78/79 years. Of these, he spent 18 in Russia, 19 in America, and 42 in Europe --- Germany, England, France, Switzerland. Can we hope for a third biography: VN: The European Years?  The Americanization of VN seems to me akin to the conversion of Anglo-Saxon into Old English, by the OED, in the years running up to the Great War: linguistically disreputable, and a most deplorable academic chauvinism.


Maybe his story had been ghosted into English by another person, perhaps the noble paraphrast, Conmal


It has dawned on me that Sirin’s ghost was not Conmal in person, but one or other of his two research assistants, either the hefty LeBrev, usually known as “Guts”, or a lesser vassal, Steve Blurg.


Jerry’s suggestion that “zesty” might be at home in Madison Avenue gave me some pause, when suddenly the gates of perception opened wide, and I saw it all, YES, in glittering letters, ten foot tall: !ZESTY! --- that cup of morning bliss --- brings your teeth to life --- your regular bowl of flakes --- dogs bark for it --- cats scratch for it --- puts vim in your man  --- AND, for the morning after: what better bote than a glass of sparkling Alka-ZESTY!



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