From the Bookshelf of Nabokov in Three Years…
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Nabokov is commonly regarded merely as an aesthete; a writer who regarded art as a plaything, a wordsmith so obsessed with his verbosity that he disregarded any political, philosophical or human themes in his works, a writer who eschewed the idea that art had any purpose except to satisfy his own whims, a writer with a jejunish obsession with artifice and deception; “The most enchanting things in nature and art are based on deception.” (The Gift) Nabokov’s books are notoriously dense, full of un...more
Jul 12, 2014 Richard F. Schiller rated it 5 of 5 stars · review of another edition
On a first look, Pnin, seems like a hilarious joke from a somewhat cruel author who makes fun of his suffering creature. Timofey Pnin, an untenured Russian professor at Waindell College (a mixture of the real-life Wellesley College and Cornell University) has a ridiculous brand of English (referring to his noisy neighbours as "sonic disturbances" and talking of starting a "house-heating party") with humorous pronunciations of English words. The meanness of Nabokov is reinforced as the narrator i...more
I know my brother just read this book and will disagree with the star allocation, but I thought this book was lovely, and not really challenging but good. It is a technically good book - i.e., it doesn't have any of the difficulties that later books have (and that people like Martin Amis criticise), but it is easy to read and tells you something. And I feel he is a more sympathetic character. However, it's not a GREAT BOOK: I think I had already read most of it, and it didn't make a huge impress...more
As sweet, sad, and charming as an indie film. I love how tightly focused this novel is on the little things in Timofey Pnin's life, and how much it all revelas about him and endears him to the reader. A wonderful breath of fresh air after the seriousness of Lolita.