The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov
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The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov

4.3 of 5 stars 4.30  ·  rating details  ·  4,080 ratings  ·  141 reviews
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...more
ebook, 704 pages
Published February 16th 2011 by Vintage (first published 1952)
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Kristen
Mar 21, 2012 Kristen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: desert islands that only allow one book
When I feel utterly overwhelmed by meaninglessness of life there are only two things I turn to: weed and Nabokov. We’re all lovers of literature here, but don’t you often feel like what’s the point of it all? That it’s all just bullshit? I do, all the time. So maybe I’m a misanthrope, I do actively hope for the end of the human race on a regular basis, and it’s not just all literature I often think is a worthless meaningless sham but whole of art, science, and every other human attempt to make s...more
Laura Wetsel
May 19, 2007 Laura Wetsel rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Butterfly hunters, skiiers, and wizards
For better dreams: Eat one slice before bedtime.
Glenn Russell
This collection of stories by Vladimir Nabokov will keep any lover of literature going for quite some time since there are nearly seventy stories told in over eight hundred pages. I presume everyone reading this knows the author is a master, one of the finest fiction writers of the twentieth century, so, for the purposes of this review, rather than making general statements, the focus will be on one story - The Visit to the Museum. If you had the experience of living a good hunk of your life in...more
Eric
This book started my obsession. Anthony Lane's rapturous review in the New Yorker brought the first mention of Nabokov into my 15-year-old mind. I recently came across a contemporaneous, lukewarm-to-negative notice by Edmund White; glad that review wasn't my first exposure.

There's so much to love here ("The Admiralty Spire" and "Spring in Fialta" are tricky, odd, and totally successful--absolute triumphs of the form), but I'm particularly attached to the impressionistic short pieces written in t...more
umberto
Finally I finished reading this book with its 68 stories (sixty-five stories, as informed in one of its back pages), I found most of them enjoyable but some a bit lengthy, tedious and typically Russian since, I think, Nabokov's written impeccably in inimitable English narrative as well as some French, German and Russian phrases/sentences here and there with which his readers should be familiar, for the sake of better understanding. For instance:
1) Tu es tres hippique ce matin (p. 489)
2) Was dort...more
R. Burns
I fell in love with Nabokov's style in Lolita but hated the story, so I'm torn. The answer? His short stories. Many of them are an absolute joy to read for a writer, perfection in style and pacing. A must read in my opinion for any writer wanting to write short stories. This will probably always be an book I'm reading rather a "read" book, as it is so worth re-reading and re-reading. If you haven't read any of his short stories, "Signs and Symbols" is where to begin. As I write this (21 February...more
Íris Santos
Antes de começar a review, explicito desde já os meus contos favoritos:
O Génio do Bosque, Deuses, Vingança, «La Veneziana», Natal, Terror, O Passageiro.

Este é o primeiro livro que li de Nabokov. Admito que fiquei surpreendida. Foi um verdadeiro achado num país onde a disseminação da cultura literária ainda é tão escassa.
Porém, presumo que talvez esta não devesse ter sido a minha primeira experiência com Nabokov, por ser estranha à sua escrita. Acredito que os seus contos assentem muito em camada...more
Brent Hayward
I'm nearing the end of this tome but already the winner is lengths ahead of the pack. Unless there is a magnificent stumble, the crown is assured. Nearer to the start-- this book contains every story Nabokov ever wrote, no less-- I tingled with a small amount of gloating: some stories did not work! There were minor clunkers... But Nabokov was just beginning to flex his muscles and the ensuing dozens and dozens of glittering prose fists beat me into submission. (They are arranged chronologically,...more
T Fool
I began both reading and listening. This should say something about the way I 'process information' -- having literature (anything, really) read to me sticks more with me. Certainly material long and intricate. It's not strange, then, that the reading was abandoned in favor of the listening, in my car, over a period of a couple of months.

At first even that was problematic. Nabokov's style is dense, convoluted, and it seemed as I listened-on, almost overly-rich with detail. It was, day after day...more
Aaron Jansen
I guess every genius has to start somewhere. This 600-page behemoth is wildly uneven and can be a bit of a slog. A lot of the early stories are barely distinguishable, aimlessly descriptive meditations on émigré life; I look back on the table of contents and it's alarming how many titles conjure nothing: no particular character, feeling, or image. "The Seaport," "Beneficence," "The Fight," "The Doorbell"—what were these stories about again?

I think there's a reason Nabokov is remembered as a nove...more
Blumenfeld
Nabokov fascinates me and daunts me at the same time. His attention to details, poignant characterisations, humour and erudite nature cannot be ignored. The best way to put it––he stuns me. How do I review this collection of short stories properly? I don't know. This review is destined to be a mess.

I've read this book slowly, bits by bits, for there is no way one could devour it quickly. It is a garland of gorgeous images, oftentimes abstract and fantastical. ‘A cinematic quality’ is the best wa...more
Rob
Explanatory Background Statement: You will notice that this book is shelved "unfinished". In between novels and on a short fiction kick, I decided that I should at least dip my toes into a few hallowed literary names before taking on the mantle of my next Big Read. Ellison was one (see also) and Nabokov was the other. I didn't crack the covers on this one expecting to finish it. Especially as I hefted the thick volume from the library's shelf, I knew that my goal was only to get my feet wet.

My R...more
Kenneth
Vladimir Nabokov never ceases to restore my faith in the power of prose. As it often happens with favorite writers of mine (Kafka, Hesse, Murakami, Camus...), I find that their short stories stand out as the best reads (to take nothing away from their novels, natch). My copy of the Vintage qpb Stories of V.N., the one with the butterfly on the reflective cover, is a well-loved, well-read volume in my personal library.
My own love of words and the craft of writing informs my Nabokov fandom. As an...more
Rowena
This was my first taste of Vladimir Nabokov, and really, by page 4, I was mesmerized. VN is a true master of storytelling...the way he spins the delicate web of his story, interspersing the tale with enthralling jewels of pure thought and wisdom. There were 67 short stories in total and when reading his "liner notes" at the end, every story stood out poignantly in my memory. There were love stories, horror stories, mysteries...they ran the whole gamut. Below are some of my most favorite lines:

Al...more
Abigail Sarah Brody
Dmitri Nabokov (1934-2012) would let me read excerpts prior to the publication of the book. He would fax me his manuscripts: La Veneziana.

When I lived at the shores of Lake Geneva and attended Art Center (Europe) I was given Nabokov as a subject to read and write about in literature class. I did not want to read anything, because I was ignorant and the Lolita stereotype filled my mind. Little did I know that Nabokov is one of the finest bilingual writers I have found. I even ended up befriending...more
Peter
As yet I have only read about ten stories from this massive volume, but what strikes me about them is the way he shows character through such original descriptions and exactingly observed gestures - it's somehow like watching a virtuoso actor.
Tessa De Guzman
Sep 18, 2007 Tessa De Guzman rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: patient sensualists
Nabokov writes prose ecstatically--- someone said that, that's on the blurb of this book, and it's true. Equally true is the slightly confusing, stream-of-consciousness poetry that is his writing style. I had to be extremely patient before I got it, it makes you feel a bit stupid in the beginning, but eventually, Nabokov's world will hold you captive and from that, there is no escape.
Hadrian
I love love love love love love these stories. Gems, each and every one. Praise be to Nabokov
Palmyrah
I know and love Nabokov. Now that I've read this collection I know him a lot better, and probably love him a little bit less, though my appreciation of him as an artist remains undiminished.

Some of these stories are marvels of auctorial craft and inspiration. The rest, with a few exceptions, are very, very good.

I've never taken so long to read a work of fiction. 648 pages of dense, poetic prose. The first third took me a long time because the stories in this part are very short and each one is l...more
matt

I started it last spring when I went to NYC for vacation. Read it on the bus on the way there, then I thought I lost the copy for good. Luckily it was unearthed amid the general displacements of moving out of my old apartment.

I'm about a 150 pages in. I think it might be a good smaller, bit-by-bit type of reading experience. I do enjoy having some outside material to take refuge in when schoolwork starts to crowd my brain. A couple stories a week on the train? Some lazy afternoon weekend readin...more
Cameron
Vladimir Nabokov is most known for his novel, "Lolita", which is a good thing because it's one of the greatest books ever written but the hurricane of mixed emotions that it stirred up created a cloud of obscurity that kind of blurred anything else he wrote. People assumed that he was very immoral, and that "Lolita" was all that he was about. The people that are under that impression should read this collection of short stories and then smack themselves for making such assumptions. Nabokov is on...more
Andrew Houston
Nabokov accomplishes in 5 pages what most writers fail to in thousands. The tales you'll find in this collection run the gamut from ecstatic to devastating, whimsical to grave, often evoking all of these in the same story, on the same page, and sometimes inexplicably seem to ignite the entire sprawling spectrum of humanity with a single turn of phrase! I'm gushing, I know, but this book hit me really hard.
Jolie
Every time I read something of Nabokov's, I'm simultaneously humbled and awed. I can't even begin to describe how much I love these stories, how much I love Nabokov the writer (although reading Strong Opinions, his collection of essays and interviews, makes me respect him as a person as well), and how much reading his words makes me love language all the more. My god, the man was a genius. I will be reading and rereading these stories for a very long time to come. They are definitely meant to be...more
Alex
Nabokov the alchemist of language. No other writer can call forth sights and sounds to create those indescribable moments and moods like he does.

What Longing!

Some of these stories almost knocked me out of my chair. Even my landlady choked on her earl gray while sampling a story over her morning egg.

What variety of characters! Smelly vengeful angels, immigrant forest spirits, gods and devils, cowards and drunks. Everyone of them alive in my mind.

Longing, the one word that comes to mind to sum up...more
Robert
As I was reading The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov, more than 600 pages of them, I had to set aside what I already knew of his colossal literary achievements to better appreciate how they came to be, how long he spent publishing his work in tiny emigre newspapers, how little he was appreciated before Lolita and Pale Fire were published, two books that made him impossible to ignore.
He had many literary friends and admirers throughout his career, of course. Perhaps the most famous, and famously ar...more
Gary Daly
Mar 19, 2014 Gary Daly rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Graham Carter
A roughneck of a collection here. Great stories adrift with disorientation, myth and memory covering decades of his life. Much is said (in the stories) about the translation of literature and what is lost and what is gained. I think Nabokov put it best when he wrote, "Everything seemed yellow blurred, illusive, lost." (The Vane Sisters, p.722). For the most part I found myself putting down each story with a sense of this blurry comprehension almost as if Nabokov is laughing at you from the next...more
raul
I recently learned that Nabokov's family spoke English, French & Russian at home and that he learned the 3 languages simultaneously. Knowing that English was not a second language learned later in life eases my mind a bit, otherwise his gift of poetic prose would be too absurd... This is one of my favorite short story collections by a single writer and I'm a short story junky.
Kaya
Sep 14, 2009 Kaya is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
"Matter of CHance" Oh my. OOOOOOOOHHHHHH MY.

"Sounds" is the sparkliest, twinkliest thing I have read and made me burst out crying in the shower about 6 hours after I read it cuz it was so pretty and sweet and moving. And for once in my life I don't mean bowel-moving.


Christopher Sutch
The author's son, in his introduction, claims that Nabokov's short fiction is his "most accessible" work. While this may be the case, I found it to be his most unsatisfying work as well. Aside from a handful of the 65 stories collected here, most of these pieces aren't really "stories" at all. Many of them are mere "sketches" of impressions or the elaboration of one-off ideas (and while sometimes pretty, they have little in the way of the elements that make up a traditional "story"). Many of the...more
Mauberley
I adore this collection. Its chronological order from the 1920's through the 1950's means that we can witness the growing maturity of genius. I loved taking the volume to a coffee shop and reading a few stories in the midst of urban life.

From 'A Letter That Never Reached Russia': The centuries will roll by, and schoolboys will yawn over the history of our upheavals; everything will pass, but my happiness, dear, my happiness will remain, in the moist reflection of a streetlamp, in the cautious b...more
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Russian: Владимир Владимирович Набоков

Nabokov wrote his first nine novels in Russian, then rose to international prominence as a master English prose stylist. He also made significant contributions to lepidoptery and had an interest in chess problems.

Nabokov's Lolita (1955) is frequently cited as his most important novel, and is at any rate his most widely known one, exhibiting the love of intrica...more
More about Vladimir Nabokov...
Lolita Pale Fire Pnin Invitation to a Beheading Speak, Memory

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“Everything in the world is beautiful, but Man only recognizes beauty if he sees it either seldom or from afar. Listen, today we are gods! Our blue shadows are enormous! We move in a gigantic, joyful world!” 92 likes
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