Lyricsninja's Reviews > Invitation to a Beheading

Invitation to a Beheading by Vladimir Nabokov
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Aug 04, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: read-and-reviewed
Read from August 04 to 10, 2011

On the recommendation of a friend, I picked up Invitation to a Beheading to read. I'll freely admit that I trudged through the first 60 pages with a bit of anger, as the book is a rough read. My friend convinced me to continue on, as he stated that it was a book that is more than worth working through to complete. Well… he was right. Nabakov blew me away with the way this one was done. The beginning was so heavy that you could almost feel the mental strain that the imprisonment was causing on the main character, CC. Then as things progress CC seems to almost detach from the world and can no longer distinguish between what is real and what are merely hopes and dreams. He often finds himself going down odd paths that seem nonsensical, but show that sometimes the only freedom one can have is in the freedom of the mind. What is especially interesting to be is the absurd nature of the cast of supporting characters throughout the novel - the director, main guard, the guards daughter, the prisoner… each is so ridiculous and overdone that they are perfect for this little world… and each brings an odd element to the story. The director disregards everything and works on his own schedule, the guard just wants to be appreciated, the daughter is free spirited and always enjoying life, and the other prisoner is very much full of himself. Much of what is shown though points to the matter of perception… especially when looking to his childish view where he states "things which to me had seemed natural were actually forbidden, impossible, that any thought of them was criminal". But even moreso the funhouse mirror concept that was presented by his mother intrigues me. In the end, everything turns to a funhouse mirror version of what it once was…

A good read in the end, and well worth it.
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