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Strong Opinions by Vladimir Nabokov
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Aug 02, 07

bookshelves: nabokov

A book for cultists. Non-cultists hold this book up as Nabokov at his arrogant, disdainful worst. They miss the real human drama here: Nabokov's fierce adherence to the aristocratic ideal of his youth--an ideal of unflappable poise and "manly" composure--in the face of the death, exile, material deprivation and incalculable emotional loss that marked his adult life. Hold your head high, remember you're a nobleman. He admirably eludes all attempts to get him to complain, to Oprah-ishly broadcast his private suffering. My favorite exchange comes when one interviewer touches a particularly tender point of Nabokov's pain, asking him how he feels about that fact that all of his books are banned in the country of his birth. With superhuman sang-froid, he replies: "It is Russia's loss, not mine."
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