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The Collected Stories

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  5,875 Ratings  ·  208 Reviews
A man at his desk is interrupted by the appearance of a woodland elf in his room; the piano maestro Bachmann ends his career; a barber shaves the face of a man who once tortured him; a shy dreamer makes a deal with the Devil. In these sixty-five stories of magic and melancholy, Nabokov displays an astonishing range of inventiveness, with dazzling sleight of hand, fantastic ...more
Paperback, 663 pages
Published 1997 by Penguin Books (first published 1965)
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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 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 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 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.
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wellcome to the funhouse...
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
Nhi Nguyễn
Nửa đầu của tuyển tập truyện ngắn này, thú thật là mình chỉ thấy thích (phải nói là cực thích :D) và ấn tượng có mỗi truyện "Một truyện đồng thoại", còn lại thì đọc kiểu cho qua chữ chứ chả hiểu (và vì thế cũng chả nhớ) gì mấy. Cơ mà nửa sau của quyển sách, kể từ truyện "Hành khách" trở đi, thì ôi thôi phải nói là hay tuyệt cú mèo. Nhờ vậy mới cho cuốn này 4 sao :)) Thích nhất là những truyện "Hành khách", "Mỹ nhân Nga", "Cảnh đời một quái vật kép", "Chị em nhà Vane", "Mối tình đầu" và "Mưa Phục ...more
Aug 27, 2007 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
R. Burns
Feb 21, 2013 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
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
Đông Huynh
Sep 27, 2016 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 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 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 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
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
J.M. Hushour
Jan 27, 2014 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
Nov 11, 2016 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
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.
Laurie Bastemeijer
If you want to enjoy the almost unfairly gifted Nabokov and his poetical style without having to read about shagging an underage girl, this is the book for you!
Jul 20, 2014 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
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 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 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 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 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:

Aug 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I feel Nabokov is my fictional-father, the inspiring-muse, the genius-in-the-book who always is there behind your back to inspire you to think creatively and to imagine the beauties of the world in more colorful pattern. I fell in love with Nabokov's nape-tingling prose when I read Lolita; stigma apart, no body can craft lyrical sentences with such effortless legerdemain like Nabokov. I loved his Pale Fire and then, read this collection. It is a brilliant book, a collection of some of the most e ...more
Tessa De Guzman
Sep 18, 2007 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.
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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
More about Vladimir Nabokov...
“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!” 105 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.” 51 likes
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