Vladimir Nabokov

Recommended reading: Robert Michael Pyle, Magdalena Mountain

By Brian_Boyd, 7 November, 2023

Dear all,

            Especially for those who attended the wonderful Lausanne “Nabokov: Writing Nature” conference in June and enjoyed Bob Pyle’s generous participation and his pointers to the Erebia butterflies on the Rochers de Naye above Montreux, but for all Nabokovians with an interest in nature and novels: 

I would like to recommend heartily Robert Michael Pyle’s novel Magdalena Mountain (Berkeley: Counterpoint, 2018). It’s a quest novel that elegantly interweaves multiple quests made by lepidopterists and one lepidopteron. It has rich echoes of the real world (Bob’s own graduate studies at Yale and in the field; his mentor and Nabokov’s MCZ lab bench-mate Charles Remington; Naomi Pierce, Nabokov’s successor as curator of Lepidoptera at the MCZ; Nabokov’s own quests in the Rockies, especially for Boloria species; and a certain mountain, renamed here, much frequented by Erebia Magdalena, and its surroundings) and of Nabokov’s fictional world in LATH! It showcases Bob’s inspiring knowledge of nature’s details and rhythms, his gift for language and story, and his generous sense of the unity of nature, including the human part of nature. Treat yourself and enjoy!

Brian Boyd