Lolita

      Vladimir Nabokov / History & Fiction
Lolita

Humbert Humbert - scholar, aesthete and romantic - has fallen completely and utterly in love with Lolita Haze, his landlady's gum-snapping, silky skinned twelve-year-old daughter. Reluctantly agreeing to marry Mrs Haze just to be close to Lolita, Humbert suffers greatly in the pursuit of romance; but when Lo herself starts looking for attention elsewhere, he will carry her off on a desperate cross-country misadventure, all in the name of Love. Hilarious, flamboyant, heart-breaking and full of ingenious word play, Lolita is an immaculate, unforgettable masterpiece of obsession, delusion and lust.
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    Pnin

      Vladimir Nabokov / History & Fiction
Pnin

Pnin is a professor of Russian at an American college who takes the wrong train to deliver a lecture in a language he cannot master. Pnin is a tireless lover who writes to his treacherous Liza: "A genius needs to keep so much in store, and thus cannot offer you the whole of himself as I do." Pnin is the focal point of subtle academic conspiracies he cannot begin to comprehend, yet he stages a faculty party to end all faculty parties forever.


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    Bend Sinister

      Vladimir Nabokov / History & Fiction
Bend Sinister

Part of the fabulous new hardback library of 22 Vladimir Nabokov books, publishing over the coming year, with an elegant new jacket and text design.

The state has been recently taken over and is being run by the tyrannical and philistine 'Average Man' party. Under the slogans of equality and happiness for all, it has done away with individualism and freedom of thought. Only John Krug, a brilliant philosopher, stands up to the regime. His antagonist, the leader of the new party, is his old school enemy, Paduk - known as the 'Toad'. Grieving over his wife's recent death, Krug is at first dismissive of Paduk's activities and sees no threat in them. But the sinister machine which Paduk has set in motion may prove stronger than the individual, stronger even than the grotesque 'Toad' himself.

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    Invitation to a Beheading

      Vladimir Nabokov / History & Fiction
Invitation to a Beheading

Like Kafka’s The Castle, Invitation to a Beheading embodies a vision of a bizarre and irrational world. In an unnamed dream country, the young man Cincinnatus C. is condemned to death by beheading for “gnostical turpitude,” an imaginary crime that defies definition. Cincinnatus spends his last days in an absurd jail, where he is visited by chimerical jailers, an executioner who masquerades as a fellow prisoner, and by his in-laws, who lug their furniture with them into his cell. When Cincinnatus is led out to be executed, he simply wills his executioners out of existence; they disappear, along with the whole world they inhabit. One of the twentieth century’s master prose stylists, Vladimir Nabokov was born in St. Petersburg in 1899. He studied French and Russian literature at Trinity College, Cambridge, then lived in Berlin and Paris, where he launched a brilliant literary career. In 1940 he moved to the United States, and achieved renown as a novelist, poet, critic, and translator. He taught literature at Wellesley, Stanford, Cornell, and Harvard. In 1961 he moved to Montreux, Switzerland, where he died in 1977. “Nabokov writes prose the only way it should be written, that is, ecstatically.” — John Updike **
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    Despair

      Vladimir Nabokov / History & Fiction
Despair

Self-satisfied, delighting in the many fascinating quirks of his own personality, Hermann Hermann is perhaps not to be taken too seriously. But then a chance meeting with a man he believes to be his double reveals a frightening 'split' in Hermann's nature. With shattering immediacy, Nabokov takes us into a deranged world, one full of an impudent, startling humour, dominated by the egotistical and scornful figure of a murderer who thinks himself an artist. ** ### Review He did us all an honour by electing to use, and transform, our language. Anthony Burgess Nabokov can move you to laughter in the way that masters can - to laughter that is near to tears. The Guardian ### Language Notes Text: English, Russian (translation)
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    Mary

      Vladimir Nabokov / History & Fiction
Mary

Mary is a gripping tale of youth, first love, and nostalgia—Nabokov's first novel. In a Berlin rooming house filled with an assortment of seriocomic Russian émigrés, Lev Ganin, a vigorous young officer poised between his past and his future, relives his first love affair. His memories of Mary are suffused with the freshness of youth and the idyllic ambience of pre-revolutionary Russia. In stark contrast is the decidedly unappealing boarder living in the room next to Ganin's, who, he discovers, is Mary's husband, temporarily separated from her by the Revolution but expecting her imminent arrival from Russia.
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    The Real Life of Sebastian Knight

      Vladimir Nabokov / History & Fiction
The Real Life of Sebastian Knight

The Real Life of Sebastian Knight is a perversely magical literary detective story -- subtle, intricate, leading to a tantalizing climax -- about the mysterious life of a famous writer. Many people knew things about Sebastian Knight as a distinguished novelist, but probably fewer than a dozen knew of the two love affairs that so profoundly influenced his career, the second one in such a disastrous way. After Knight's death, his half brother sets out to penetrate the enigma of his life, starting with a few scanty clues in the novelist's private papers. His search proves to be a story of mystery and intrigue as any of his subject's own novels, as baffling, and, in the end, as uniquely rewarding.

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    Laughter in the Dark

      Vladimir Nabokov / History & Fiction
Laughter in the Dark

"Once upon a time there lived in Berlin, Germany, a man called Albinus. He was rich, respectable, happy; one day he abandoned his wife for the sake of a youthful mistress; he loved; was not loved; and his life ended in disaster." Thus begins Vladimir Nabokov's Laughter in the Dark; this, the author tells us, is the whole story--except that he starts from here, with his characteristic dazzling skill and irony, and brilliantly turns a fable into a chilling, original novel of folly and destruction. Amidst a Weimar-era milieu of silent film stars, artists, and aspirants, Nabokov creates a merciless masterpiece as Albinus, an aging critic, falls prey to his own desires, to his teenage mistress, and to Axel Rex, the scheming rival for her affections who finds his greatest joy in the downfall of others. Published first in Russian as Kamera Obskura in 1932, this book appeared in Nabokov's own English translation six years later. This New Directions edition, based on the text as Nabokov revised it in 1960, features a new introduction by Booker Prize-winner John Banville.
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    Transparent Things

      Vladimir Nabokov / History & Fiction
Transparent Things

"Transparent Things revolves around the four visits of the hero - sullen, gawky Hugh Person - to Switzerland... As a young publisher, Hugh is sent to interview R., falls in love with Armande on the way, wrests her, after multiple humiliations, from a grinning Scandinavian and returns to NY with his bride... Eight years later - following a murder, a period of madness and a brief imprisonment - Hugh makes a lone sentimental journey to wheedle out his past... The several strands of dream, memory, and time [are] set off against the literary theorizing of R. and, more centrally, against the world of observable objects." Martin Amis

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    The Eye

      Vladimir Nabokov / History & Fiction
The Eye

Nabokov's fourth novel, The Eye is as much a farcical detective story as it is a profoundly refractive tale about the vicissitudes of identities and appearances. Nabokov's protagonist, Smurov, is a lovelorn, excruciatingly self-conscious Russian émigré living in prewar Berlin, who commits suicide after being humiliated by a jealous husband, only to suffer even greater indignities in the afterlife.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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    The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov

      Vladimir Nabokov / History & Fiction
The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov

From the writer who shocked and delighted the world with his novels Lolita, Pale Fire,
and Ada, or Ardor, and so many others, comes a magnificent collection of stories. Written between the 1920s and 1950s, these sixty-five tales--eleven of which have been translated into English for the first time--display all the shades of Nabokov's imagination. They range from sprightly fables to bittersweet tales of loss, from claustrophobic exercises in horror to a connoisseur's samplings of the table of human folly. Read as a whole, The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov offers and intoxicating draft of the master's genius, his devious wit, and his ability to turn language into an instrument of ecstasy.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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    Speak, Memory

      Vladimir Nabokov / History & Fiction
Speak, Memory

Speak, Memory, first published in 1951 as **Conclusive Evidence** and then assiduously revised in 1966, is an elegant and rich evocation of Nabokov's life and times, even as it offers incisive insights into his major works, including **Lolita**, **Pnin**, **Despair**, **The Gift**, **The Real Life of Sebastian Knigh**t, and **The Defense**.  

*From the Trade Paperback edition.*


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    The Luzhin Defense

      Vladimir Nabokov / History & Fiction
The Luzhin Defense

Nabokov’s third novel, The Luzhin Defense, is a chilling story of obsession and madness. As a young boy, Luzhin was unattractive, distracted, withdrawn, sullen — an enigma to his parents and an object of ridicule to his classmates. He takes up chess as a refuge from the anxiety of his everyday life. His talent is prodigious and he rises to the rank of grandmaster — but at a cost: in Luzhin’s obsessive mind, the game of chess gradually supplants reality. His own world falls apart during a crucial championship match, when the intricate defense he has devised withers under his opponent’s unexpected and unpredictable lines of assault. One of the twentieth century’s master prose stylists, Vladimir Nabokov was born in St. Petersburg in 1899. He studied French and Russian literature at Trinity College, Cambridge, then lived in Berlin and Paris, where he launched a brilliant literary career. In 1940, he moved to the United States and achieved renown as a novelist, poet, critic, and translator. He taught literature at Wellesley, Stanford, Cornell, and Harvard. In 1961, he moved to Montreux, Switzerland, where he died in 1977. “[Nabokov is] the supreme master.” — The New York Times Book Review **
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    The Gift

      Vladimir Nabokov / History & Fiction
The Gift

The Gift is the last of the novels Nabokov wrote in his native Russian and the crowning achievement of that period in his literary career.  It is also his ode to Russian literature, evoking the works of Pushkin, Gogol, and others in the course of its narrative:  the story of Fyodor Godunov-Cherdyntsev, an impoverished émigré poet living in Berlin, who dreams of the book he will someday write--a book very much like The Gift itself.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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