NABOKV-L post 0021693, Thu, 9 Jun 2011 23:20:13 -0400


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Loose leafs from the New Yorker Books Department

June 9, 2011
Posted by Blake Eskin
“Why do men do these things?” my mother-in-law asked me last night.

[ ... ]

Of course in Weiner’s case, he already had somebody to love (and somebody else on the way). Vladimir Nabokov had an affair once, but mostly he had Véra. Their epistolary romance went on for decades. A few of Vladimir’s letters are in the Summer Fiction Issue, and the rest of his “Letters to Véra” will be published in book form.
Olga Voronina, one of the translators, told me on The New Yorker Out Loud, about her favorite letter to Vera, dated July 4, 1969:
It’s a two-line note on a lined index card in which he says:
How charming to hear your pure little voice in the garden from my balcony. Such sweet notes, such tender vision.
Cordially yours, V.N.
That’s all he says. And I love it so much, because it’s a note that indicates that, even though they are separated only by a hundred yards of space and maybe a couple of minutes of walking down the stairs and delivering the message, in person, he wants to send it to her in writing so that she will have it as an object to keep and also as a token of his affection.
As for Véra, she destroyed her letters to Vladimir, so they will remain private forever.

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