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The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov

4.29  ·  Rating Details ·  5,641 Ratings  ·  190 Reviews
From Vladimir Nabokov, the writer who shocked and delighted the world with his novels Lolita, Pale Fire, and Ada, or Ardor, comes a magnificent collection of stories. Written between the 1920s and the 1950s, these sixty-eight tales — fourteen of which have been translated into English for the first time - display all the shades of Nabokov’s imagination. They range from spr ...more
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Published November 20th 2010 by Brilliance Audio (first published 1952)
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Ben Marcher It's a collection of short stories by Nabokov, each story has it's own plot and no real connection to the next. The stories themselves range from…moreIt's a collection of short stories by Nabokov, each story has it's own plot and no real connection to the next. The stories themselves range from magical little fairy tales to stories about a man who decides to have sex with 11-12 girls in a night. (less)
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Dec 26, 2009 Kristen rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Oct 14, 2012 Darwin8u rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
“The lovely thing about humanity is that at times one may be unaware of doing right, but one is always aware of doing wrong.”

― Vladimir Nabokov, The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov


In someways reading/listening to Nabokov's stories is like swimming in a turbulent river of all his great themes (doppelgängers, the creative process, loss, nostalgia for Russia, the individual, obsession, dreams/reality, etc*).

While there were some stories that were masterpieces, the strength of this book really is the a
Laura Wetsel
May 19, 2007 Laura Wetsel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Butterfly hunters, skiiers, and wizards
For better dreams: Eat one slice before bedtime.
I love love love love love love these stories. Gems, each and every one. Praise be to Nabokov

I'm taking a class on Nabokov this semester and have finally been sent the reading list. This seemed like a really good collection to buy, because it includes almost all of the short stories on my set text list. The whole collection is huge, with 65 stories, and clearly it'll probably be a very long time before I read the whole thing, but I need to keep track of the stories I do need to read for class.

I've also found copies of the Russian originals, and although I'm not required to rea
Aug 27, 2007 Eric rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
R. Burns
Feb 21, 2013 R. Burns rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Đông Huynh
Sep 27, 2016 Đông Huynh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Thích nhất "Một truyện đồng thoại" vì truyện hay và thú vị (dù không hẳn là truyện hay nhất theo kiểu của Nabokov) . Ngoài ra, thích nhất là những đoạn Nabokov miêu tả phụ nữ, rất đẹp, mỗi người mỗi vẻ.

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
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
Sep 11, 2007 Rob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 01, 2013 Blumenfeld rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
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
Brent Hayward
Mar 03, 2010 Brent Hayward rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
J.M. Hushour
Jan 27, 2014 J.M. Hushour rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After chipping away at this immense thing for something like three goddamn years, I've finally finished this extraordinary collection. This spans Nabokov's entire literary career but, honestly, these are all so consistently wonderful it's hard to periodize them except to say that Nabby is one of the finest craftsman of the short story I've ever read. Scads/lightyears beyond either Lolita or Pale Fire. Nabby was so much better with intimate little tales, almost interruptions. It's hard to even be ...more
thím Tô
Nov 11, 2016 thím Tô rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mạnh dạn cho 5 sao, mặc dù có mấy truyện "trẻ con non choẹt" thế nào ý (Ma cây , Lá thư đến từ nước Nga) :))) Cũng có thể đó là những truyện bác ấy viết hồi mới chập chững cầm bút. Cách miêu tả của Nabokov vừa có được sự mềm mại tự nhiên lại vừa rất chặt chẽ, chi tiết, xoắn xuýt. Những truyện Dấu hiệu và biểu hiện, Báo tin, Một truyện đồng thoại, Cảnh đời một quái vật kép,... khiến mình choáng váng sau khi đọc xong, hệt như khi lỡ ngủ trưa quá 30' - sẽ cực kỳ đau đầu và lâng lâng khi bị dựng cổ ...more
Jessica D. Bicking
There's something so magical and elevating about reading Nabokov. He's an incitement to attentiveness. He's pointing at things from a fast-running train window, laughing at you and urging you to keep up with him. He makes me want to quit (everything) cognitive science and study literature instead. He makes me want to be a writer, now, or at least I want to be a little better at speaking my mind and my memory and I scribble endlessly into my little notebooks, hoping I'll remember this fantastical ...more
T Fool
May 20, 2012 T Fool rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Unfinished. Abandoned.

Full disclosure: It is October 2nd, 2016 today, and to date I've read 49 of the short stories (437 pages) and there are 19 short stories left to read in the book (226 pages). But - and this for a long time now - I haven't felt like reading any more of it. It is possible even that I haven't even read any of it at all this year. I tried to get back into it today and I realised that I have absolutely no interest in this book anymore and that to finish it would be tedious. More
Kirk Smith
Apr 25, 2014 Kirk Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories,
Nabokov writes imaginative sometimes eccentric stories: Russian, Parisian, and in America Boston and NY. Usually pretty good conceptual pieces. His use of language is brilliant, his alliteration is whimsical. Prince of Authors, King of Alliteration. Beyond the dualism implied in the name Humbert Humbert couldn't it have just been a Pun on alliteration?! Practically humorless writing but it leaves one smiling. It's a shame
Apr 23, 2007 Kenneth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 29, 2008 Rowena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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:

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
Tessa De Guzman
Sep 18, 2007 Tessa De Guzman rated it liked it  ·  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.
Jan 02, 2014 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Rick Slane
One of the stories I liked the most featured a unique take on life imprisonment. Another involved a barber given a chance to shave someone who had tortured him in the past.
Apr 05, 2015 Amer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was hell of a ride!!
Caitlyn East-Hutson
A wonderful short story collection ranging from light-hearted tales to ones that will break your heart. I'm a big Nabakov fan, and I recommend this to my friends who are curious about his range and talent.
Jul 20, 2014 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Richard F. Schiller
Nabokov's short stories tend to vary in quality moreso than his novels, but the best of the best in this complete collection rival the best stories any writer (Hemingway, O'Connor, Melville). A common theme in these stories is Nabokov's exile from his Russian homeland and I found it interesting how many of the stories ("Conversation Piece", "Russian Spoken Here" just to name a few) were much more political in nature than his novels. The majority of these stories were originally written in Russia ...more
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Russian: Владимир Владимирович Набоков

Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov, also known by the pen name Vladimir Sirin, was a Russian-American novelist. 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 cit
More about Vladimir Nabokov...

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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!” 103 likes
“The contemplation of beauty, whether it be a uniquely tinted sunset, a radiant face, or a work of art, makes us glance back unwittingly at our personal past and juxtapose ourselves and our inner being with the utterly unattainable beauty revealed to us.” 49 likes
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