Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0001348, Thu, 10 Oct 1996 14:29:01 -0700

Nabokoviana (fwd)
Date: Wed, 09 Oct 1996 20:09:59 +0000
From: Seth Roberts <roberts@garnet.berkeley.edu>

Amazon.com is a company that sells books via the Internet (www.amazon.com).
They have a monthly contest for book recommendations; here is the October
runner up.

>Amazon.com Book Recommendation Contest Runner-Up
> Ada, or Ardor by Vladimir Nabokov
> Recommendation by: pjpj@colomsat.net.co
> Most feel love; a select few feel ardor.
> A burst of light, a entomological treatise, a love story, a dirty old
man's sexual fantasy,
> a miracle. This is Nabokov's "Ada", his last great novel, but more a
spilling of the soul
> than a book. Only Nabokov would have the audacity to try to write a
> masterpiece around a simple -- even simplistic -- plot of youthful
incest, and the skill to
> pull it off in such a brilliant fashion. If wordy pretentiousness and
precocious kids turn
> you off, you shouldn't be reading Nabokov in the first place. But if
you are the kind of
> reader who loves the sound of complex consonance and takes pleasure in
being forced
> to re-read the last two chapters to grasp the convoluted plot, this is
your high-lit Bible.

Re-read the last 2 chapters? Huh? But I post this not because I'm puzzled
but because I'm impressed that a book written many years ago would still
be so appealing to a general audience. More impressive to me than two
mentions of Lolita in Salon's little collection of essays (name the book
you like best)--they asked mainly professional novelists and other
literary writers. The winning amazon.com recommendation was a book about
Feng Shui, published in 1996.

Seth Roberts
Psychology Dept.
University of California Berkeley