----- Original Message -----
From: nabokov
To: 'D. Barton Johnson'
Sent: Monday, November 22, 2004 3:26 PM
Subject: miscellanious comments from DN, Nov. 2004

                                                                                           PART ONE (PART TWO TOMORROW) 
ARAB NEWS, 11.17.04: In the context of current events in the Middle East, journalist Fawaz Turki likens the death of national leaders to that of kings on the chessboard. More specifically, according to Turki, it was "Ariel Sharon's Israelis who sent the 75-year-old Yasser Arafat to his death a broken man." Were it not for that last crack, Turki's words of admiration for VN would ring more true. A fundamental howler, however, would still remain. KING, QUEEN, KNAVE, which Turki calls a form of chess-like "animate geometry," has nothing whatever to do with chess, but refers instead to playing cards. "Valet," in Russian, means the face card "jack," or "knave," a less common usage that Father and I immediately decided upon
Jansy, 11.19: I guess it was you that looked up MORTADELLA DI FEGATO. The definition is correct, but the sausage has a number of variants. As for "repos," it is interesting that scrabbling the letters yields spero (It."I hope"). Derivation: Lat.murtus (mytle); murtatus (seasoned with myrtle). 15th Century. Common and delicious in Brianza, where I lived (town of Monza, N. of Milan). Sorry, just noticed that John has preceded me with the spero anagram.
from? 11.14: My grandfather's "official" Staunton chess set, which has made it to Montreux, has a leathery red and beige board, with which I believe it originally came.
tour guide, 11.21:Erratically translated from an approximate Russian original, and containing some statements that are debatable at least. My father preferred the April 23 date of birth to April 22. A mathematical option linked to the change of calendar allows it, and I think VN preferred sharing his birthday with Shakespeare rather than with you-know-who. My father's sister Hélène did go back, more than once. So has her son, Vladimir Sikorski. I have  gone three times under the newer regime,  if that counts.The tomb pictured on the last page is that of my paternal grandfather, at the Tegel Cemetery in Berlin. My father and mother are buried in Clarens, Switzerland. Etc.
Akiko, 11.20: My I correct something in your excellent notes about which I have first-hand knowledge? In "Lance," the deliberate mountaineering terms "crossing through a notch between two stars" and "attempting a traverse on a cliff face so sheer and with such delicate holds" are a giveaway that, while the story may be read on more than one level, including the medieval, its inspiration was the anguish and the empathy my parents experienced when I began climbing seriously and would depart, sometimes alone, sometimes into uncharted territory.