Gordon's Reviews > Ada, Or Ardor: A Family Chronicle

Ada, Or Ardor by Vladimir Nabokov
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's review
Jun 29, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: my-library, aaa
Read from June 25 to 29, 2012

My second crack at Ada and this time I immediately found its rhythm. I was nearly three hundred pages in before I came up for a breath. It's simply some of the finest writing in English. Life in Arcadian Ardis is a gorgeous dream, sensual overload that the reader experiences not through flights of the imagination but through sounding out the rare and fantastic words that Nabokov chooses. His ear is magical, he revels in the garden of literature with such humour.

However, the dream has to end, and while the rest of the book has its share of brilliance, the reality of Antiterra will never feel as good as Van's recreation of the glory years. Generally I don't think of Nabokov as an emotional writer, but the Lucette story had me in tears.

I was interested to see that Part 4 spoke to some reviewers...at that stage in the book I just wasn't in the mood for it. As well, what on terra is with the final paragraphs!? That's just too meta for me. I imagine that it won't be too long before I reread the last one hundred pages, perhaps after reading some Bergson in preparation.

If this book dosen't deserve a five, please show me the book that does!

Here's a useful quote about Ada I read in a New York Times obit of Nabokov: ""Ada" (Mr. Nabokov pronounced it Ah-dah) was such a novel, and to get the most out of it, a reader could benefit from some knowledge of the theory of matter and antimatter, John Milton, T.S. Eliot, Lord Byron, Jane Austen and the 17th century English poet Andrew Marvell. Acquaintanceship with Russian and French was also helpful, not to mention an inkling of theological speculation about prelapsarianism."

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Reading Progress

06/25/2012 page 262

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