Allie's Reviews > Invitation to a Beheading

Invitation to a Beheading by Vladimir Nabokov
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's review
Dec 06, 2007

really liked it
bookshelves: classics, melancholy
Recommended for: Gen-X-ers, postmoderns

I saw this book as a story about relationships. Cincinnatus is a prisoner for an absurd crime of personality, and his executioner cares for him and dotes on him, completely ignorant of any reason why the spitful Cincinnatus should dislike him. It teaches us about ourselves, and about the blurring of lines in our love relationships.

Sometimes, those who love us most, are the ones that imprison us or act as our executioners. Yet they love us, nonetheless. We think that those who love us will never harm us and those who hate us always will, when actually the reality we experience is that the characters and the behaviors swap fairly often. We cannot hate those who love us simply because they have imprisoned us in some way, nor should we reject the kindness of someone who hates us, just on principle alone.

In one famous scene, Cincinnatus is dancing with his jailer to some sort of waltz, and though he despises the idea of dancing with his executioner, he still feels sad when the dance has ended and he is returned to his cell. We are humans in the end, and the comforts and loves we feel are real even when they come from unlikely or unsavory places. We must come to terms with this and learn to enjoy them for what they are.

I felt it was a great book, even though I'm not particularly into surrealism.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
October 1, 2007 – Finished Reading
December 6, 2007 – Shelved
December 6, 2007 – Shelved as: classics
December 6, 2007 – Shelved as: melancholy

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Daniel (new)

Daniel a very good review !

Dawn Michele reading this review brought tears to my eyes... well said... even if you aren't particularly into surrealism i'm elated you read this and wrote this review..

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