Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0002615, Fri, 12 Dec 1997 13:18:08 -0800

Pale Fire (fwd)
EDITOR's NOTE. In re thequery below....: A succunct survey of PF may be
found in Pekka Tammi's "Pale Fire" essay in _The Garland Companion to VN_
ed. Vladimir Alexandrov.

I just finished my first reading of "Pale Fire," and am left with a few

What's the general consensus (if any) in the Nabokov community concerning
which aspects of Kinbote's story are fact and which are fiction? Can we
assume that it's all a fanciful invention?

My initial impression is that there is/was a John Shade, and a "Charles
Kinbote," and they knew each other. Aside from that, though, what do we
have to go on? Is all of Zembla an invention? If so, then the Shadows must
be an invention, and if this is the case, there is no Gradus, and so how did
John Shade die?

Are these necessarily unanswerable questions? Is this all part of VN's
trap? Have we, as readers, been duped?

I understand that we are supposed to hold most of Kinbote's story as highly
suspect (and often very funny)---but is there an underlying *truth*, i.e. a
basic framework of "actual events" (in the context of the novel, of course)
that Kinbote draped his fantasy over? Or is it all just NV's deception?

I realize these are probably all the common questions that a newbie asks
about this book, so forgive me...


Tony R.

Anthony Robinson http://rio.com/~antrobin
"These are the days of Miracle and Wonder...."
Paul Simon
"With writing, I find, you can have all the right ingredients, give plenty
of time
and care, and still get nothing. Also true of love. Cooking, therefore, can
keep a
person who tries hard sane." - John Irving, The World According to Garp