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3.68  ·  Rating details ·  1,628 Ratings  ·  110 Reviews
Glory is the wryly ironic story of Martin Edelweiss, a twenty-two-year-old Russian émigré of no account, who is in love with a girl who refuses to marry him.  Convinced that his life is about to be wasted and hoping to impress his love, he embarks on a "perilous, daredevil project"--an illegal attempt to re-enter the Soviet Union, from which he and his mother had fled in 1 ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published November 5th 1991 by Vintage (first published 1931)
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Nicely observed novel centred on Russian emigres in Europe between the wars. Unusually for Nabokov much of the action takes place in England.

Not as harsh in tone as earlier novels like Invitation to a Beheading or Laughter in the Dark, the tone is more similar to later works. Transitional also in that it was written in Russian, he had gone the way of Joseph Conrad and made English his own as a literary tool at this stage in his career.

The central character, a somewhat annoying youth, has an obse
Apr 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nabo-wabo
THIS JUST IN: For all you McCarthy-bros who think that the ‘Mac has the market cornered on depicting landscape, he don’t. As evidence, I submit VVN’s Glory for your consideration as the equal, if not superior, of anything by the old coot in that department. Call it Nabokov’s naturalist novel; call it Sally for all I care. The fact of the matter is that while McCarthy does accomplish tremendous things in cataloging flora, it’s just that: cold, emotionless minutiae (I speak of the Southwestern nov ...more
Jeff Jackson
May 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Readers already deep down the Nabokov rabbit hole
Recommended to Jeff by: The ghost of Martin's father
Shelves: nabokov
So right, this is a minor work. Transitional, you might even say. Young Nabokov is figuring out how to structure a novel from an entire life - rather than a heightened episode - without shorting his substantial gifts for compression, velocity, and patterning. The initial chapters have a herky-jerk momentum, but the novel eventually finds its footing and races toward an astonishing metaphysical climax that frames all the previous material in a new light.

This is definitely *not* for newcomers or
Adam Floridia
Mar 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nabokov
3.5 stars. Review pending.

I left that whole "Review pending" thing up there for a reason, or, more accurately a sort of disclaimer. You see, as I'm reading I'm also generally putting together a very rough outline of my to-be-written review. Unfortunately, when I wait even a week to write said review and read even a single other book in that time, I completely forget what I would have written. So this is one of those: a review half-salvaged from the fog of a full week's passing.

What do I know? I
Jan 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
A long time ago Ivan, a dear stranger who has a lovely blog - Nabokolia, asked me to write a small piece on Nabokov. Being a master procrastinator it took me ages to finally finish this little piece of, let’s say, gentle lunacy. Job, life and other trivia interfered and then today, I paused between three deadlines and decided to finish what I had meant to do more than two years ago.
Where do I begin? “In Luga? Kaluga? Ladoga? Where, when?” I have devoured fiendishly, ravenously nearly all his wo
Dec 17, 2008 rated it it was ok
I was reading Glory on the Heathrow to Cambridge bus sometime in 1999, and the guy sitting on the other side of the aisle introduced himself. He was in the middle of writing a PhD on Nabokov and had recently read it himself. We talked about Glory for a few minutes (as far as I can recall, we agreed that it was one of the least interesting of the Master's novels), and then we got into Nabokov in general. I said I often wished that I knew more than very basic Russian when I read him, since even th ...more
Inderjit Sanghera
Jun 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
‘Glory’ slightly precedes Nabokov’s ‘golden period’ (stretching from ‘Despair’ in 1937 to ‘Pale Fire’ in 1962), a period iridescent with with the glow of Nabokov’s genius, but whose brightness and beauty flickers only intermittently in comparison to the incomparable beauty of his greatest works.

The story follows Martin Edelweiss, a sensitive yet strange young man, and his experiences as an emigre firstly in Cambridge and later in Berlin and various other locations around Europe. Nabokov himsel
Erica Verrillo
Oct 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Glory is the comic/tragic tale of a young man whose fantasies of heroism come to replace reality and eventually lead to his downfall. The theme is simple, but because the novel is set between WWI and WWII, Glory might be best described as a somewhat cynical allegory about the plight of the "Lost Generation"--those ex-patriots who retreated to Paris during the 20s and 30s. Martin, our protagonist, while not an American in Paris, most certainly is lost. Having been forced into exile during the Rus ...more
Young White Russian emigre Martin Edelweiss is the sensitive and self-righteous protagonist of one of Vladimir Nabokov's least known and least-read novels, but where Glory is most glorious is in its peerless writing and not so much in its meandering, trifling tale of confused youth.

Martin Edelweiss is a cosmopolitan bastard child of sorts; someone Oscar Wilde might have pegged as "young enough to know everything," a sensitive but insufferable little prig, modeled autobiographically via Nabokov h
Mientras Leo
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hasta sus libros menores son obras mayores. Hay que leer a Nabokov
Jul 07, 2012 rated it it was ok

Glory is a tale of adventure and "coming of age" during pre-revolutionary St. Petersburg. We follow the life and development of Martin Edelweiss, a Swiss-Russian, from childhood to university graduate of Cambridge in England. As the years pass, Martin finds himself in situations, with increasing loftiness and grandiosity, where he feels the need to conquer in order to achieve, in his eyes, a sort of heroic status. Much akin to the “perfect throw” in football—whatever that is.

The crux of the prob
May 03, 2009 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
I read the Foreword and first chapter (which was only about 2 pages) early this morning. All I can manage to say through the fog of exhaustion today is that I find Nabokov's authorial voice delightful. I usually skip the Forewords, but I saw that this one was dated on my birthday -- three years before I was born, but my birthday nonetheless, so I felt compelled by the cosmic symmetry to read it. I'm glad I did, because the writing was delightful and insightful. It's an interesting experience to ...more
Claudia Serbanescu
Un roman-povestire ale cărui pagini, toate probe de măiestrie a scrisului, au trecut una după cealaltă, ușor-ușor, fără intrigă, fără acțiune. Când, în ultimele 10-12 pagini, chiar s-a întâmplat ceva - tânărul Martin Edelweiss, elvețian de origine rusă, pornește într-o îndelung visată călătorie sinucigașă prin Rusia sovietică - cartea se termină abrupt. :-I
Jan 09, 2016 rated it liked it
I love Nabokov's writing style. I have since the first book of his I read, which was (I'm pretty sure and cliché as it is) Lolita. Glory feels like a very young book. This makes sense, because it is one of his earlier novels, originally written in Russian and translated into English by Nabokov's son (with revisions by Nabokov himself). The book follows Martin, a Swiss-Russian emigre who has a nostalgic fascination with the Russia of his childhood. This is where I get Martin--his affection for th ...more
Jun 16, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Nabokov’s kaleidoscopic coming-of–age novel Glory was written in Russian in 1932, and later translated into English by son Dmitri in the seventies, under the supervision of father, author and observant reporter, Vladimir.

Basically two veins being explored here. One the familiar theme of first-love / love-lost & consequent melancholy that comprises the vocational aspirations of every Sensitive Youth.

And the other, the Mise-en-Scène-- itself a complex place-shifting and time-juggling looking g
Rachel Kowal
Aug 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Don't start with this one if you're looking to read past Lolita. Not his best, though perhaps more reminiscent of Sebald and Zweig than most others I've read by him... if you're into that kind of thing.
Jun 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Тази книга трябва да се чете бавно, за да може читателят да се потопи в очарованието на езика. Кратки фрази, живи описания. Изграждане на образа внимателно, щрих по щрих - главният герой Мартин е руски емигрант, животът му протича в Швейцария, Англия, Германия, преминава през Франция, но никъде той не се чувства чужд, нито пък се чувства у дома си. Няма я и носталгията по Русия /както може да се очаква в подобен роман, още повече като се има предвид животът на самия автор/, Мартин е възпитаван о ...more
Dec 20, 2009 rated it it was ok
I was starting to really like Nabokov and I guess that's why this book disappoints me more than it would if it came from an author I already didn't like. He [Nabokov:] seems to have the tendency to start things brilliantly, but then gradually lose his pathos. That's how I felt Ada or Adour was too, the first 200 pages truly brilliant the rest considerably more ...sloggy. The first half of this book, until Martin graduates from Cambridge was both interesting and funny. Things were happening and y ...more
Dec 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: russian, fiction
Calm, quiet, mystical, and with just "a touch of the fantastic," this is distinctly different Nabokov, yet still with the recognizable voice of the master. As usual, the language is perfection, this time picturesquely evocative of nature and its mysteries. The mood begins with ironic comedy then evolves toward a fulfilling melancholy, taking it's glorious time along the way. At the end, the story simply disappears with a quiet starkness you will not forget.

Glory does not suffer in comparison wit
Kent Winward
Jul 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Glory is a cautionary tale for me. Nabokov displays moments of greatness, like the fight scene in this book. His books cannot be faulted in construction, organization or language as motifs and themes weave in and out of themselves consistently. And that is the problem -- too consistent, too logical, too direct to make the story come alive -- the puppet show is ruined because the strings of the author are all too apparent. I see Nabokov more than I see the characters, yet he is interesting enough ...more
Mar 31, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such languorous, simple, beautiful prose I have not had the grace to read since Remains of the Day or perhaps Left hand of Darkness. Martin never gave up his vigor of youth for the indolence, security, and artificiality of Adulthood. Much to the distress of his friends and family he doggedly pursues his adolescent dreams never succumbing to the siren's call of settling. Truly we can learn what Glory and sacrifice means from Martin's example, if only we have the courage to buck what society expec ...more
Nov 11, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: nabokov-project
Starts out wonderfully - very wry, witty and well cared for. Then Martin leaves college and I lost all interest. The jacket will tell you that he succeeds in crossing the border back to the USSR - but he doesn't actually succeed in doing so until the last few pages so it feels a little under-whelming when he simply disappears. Glad to be done with this one, not terrible but also not particularly great.
Nov 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Vladimir Nabokov has, unfortunately, always disappointed me, though I've returned to him many times hoping it wouldn't be so. This book was an exception, and I enjoyed it a lot. Nabokov's descriptive powers are really on display here.
Karn Kher
Oct 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Would like to give this book a 3.5 star rating. Not his greatest work. A boy flees Soviet Union, falls in love, gets educated and grows up in this book. Not the first book to address all of them but this one manages to do it well. If you have read and loved Nabokov you will like this, I did.
For me, nowhere near as good as Lolita, but still interesting. Martin's fascination with Russia seems somewhat impersonal -- it's a "product of his time" (Nabokov alludes to this in the forward), and I think that's part of where it lost me.
James MacIntyre
Feb 11, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
Probably the most autobiographical of Nabokov's earlier novels originally written in Russian, but generally not as good as his later works.

At times the prose has the sparkling flair of his later works, but the overall narrative is unbalanced, meandering and ultimately unfulfilling.
Jun 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
very unexpected - lovely to read however.

reread: quite brilliant but with the subject... it's just inherently not all that compelling. so i've got to disagree with nabokov's assessment of it being his 3rd best novel, but still worth reading and worth reading carefully.
Aug 19, 2007 rated it really liked it
A very early and rather romantic Nabokov. A young man's novel, but surprisingly powerful, and full of Russian romanticism and melancholy.
Mar 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Very under appreciated Nabokov work.
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
Extremely slight early novel from the 1930s. The young hero, with the unlikely name of Martin Edelweiss, flees Russia with his family after the Revolution to grow up in Switzerland and then England. Almost no plot to speak of, as Nabokov seems to be conveying something about the emigre experience of the time. There are some fun scenes, but it doesn't amount to much. Nabokov's introduction, written in 1970, was almost my favorite part.
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Nabokov in Three ...: Initial Impressions 1 5 Dec 13, 2011 12:02AM  
  • The American Years
  • Pylon
  • The Enchanter: Nabokov and Happiness
  • Novel with Cocaine
  • The Man Without Qualities: Vol 3
  • Envy
  • The Dragon: Fifteen Stories
  • Vera (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov)
  • The World of S.J. Perelman
  • Hermit in Paris: Autobiographical Writings
  • E do Meio do Mundo Prostituto Só Amores Guardei Ao Meu Charuto
  • White Walls: Collected Stories
  • Adventures of Sindbad
  • Summer in Baden-Baden
  • The Foundation Pit
  • Donna di Porto Pim
  • Petersburg
  • Red Cavalry
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...

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“Human thought, flying on the trapezes of the star-filled universe, with mathematics stretched beneath, was like an acrobat working with a net but suddenly noticing that in reality there is no net.” 9 likes
“The crickets kept crepitating; from time to time there came a sweet whiff of burning juniper; and above the black alpestrine steppe, above the silken sea, the enormous, all-engulfing sky, dove-gray with stars, made one's head spin, and suddenly Martin again experienced a feeling he had known on more than one occasion as a child: an unbearable intensification of all his senses, a magical and demanding impulse, the presence of something for which alone it was worth living.” 3 likes
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