Published two weeks after Vladimir Nabokov’s seventieth birthday, Ada, or Ardor is one of his greatest masterpieces, the glorious culmination of his career as a novelist. It tells a love story troubled by incest, but it is also at once a fairy tale, epic, philosophical treatise on the nature of time, parody of the history of the novel, and erotic catalogue. Ada, or Ardor is no less than the supreme work of an imagination at white heat. This is the first American edition to include the extensive and ingeniously sardonic appendix by the author, written under the anagrammatic pseudonym Vivian Darkbloom. 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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Just not for me
- Kirsty H
An incestuous affair not for all the family
It`s a brilliantly imagined fictitious world with its own history, culture and inventions. The characters are not especially sympathetic but the reader is drawn into their strange universe and views their fascinating lives up close.
There is a scene by the swimming pool at the beginning of the second fateful summer when the protagonist, Van, is witness to his beloved`s tangled relationships with three different men yet fails to penetrate the truth of her infidelity despite his forensic interrogation.
He did quite well, subtly modulating his tones to adapt to male and female characters.
Yes, it is a long novel but the narrative accelerates throughout the book.
Personally, I found it harder to appreciate Nabokov`s verbal dexterity aurally; I think one needs to see the words on the page to understand some of his puns and wordplay.