Emm's Reviews > Speak, Memory

Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov
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's review
Jun 25, 2009

it was amazing
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This memoir is an absolute delight! Although I wish I could have sat with it for hours until finishing it, it was also the perfect book to read little-by-little, over time. It seems increasingly rare to encounter text that both requires and rewards such focus and concentration; it was wonderful to savor the opportunity to clear all thoughts and submerge into a good book.
Like memory, the narrative occurs in vignettes rather than chronologically, which adds to the delicateness and richness of the text. Nabokov is one of my absolute favorite authors to read and the true delight of this book comes from watching him manifest his observations in his dense and surprising style. Very simply, this is a beautiful read.

Below are two of my favorite passages:

p.234: "With the coming of winter our reckless romance was transplanted to grim St. Petersburg. We found ourselves horribly deprived of the sylvan security we had grown accustomed to. Hotels disreputable enough to admit us stood beyond the limits of our daring, and the great era of parked amours was still remote."

p.302: "And, nearer to the lake, in summer, especially on Sundays, the place was infested with human bodies in various stages of nudity and solarization. Only the squirrels and certain caterpillars kept their coats on. Gray-footed goodwives sat on greasy gray sand in their slips; repulsive, seal-voiced males, in muddy swimming trunks, gamboled around; [...]"
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Quotes Emm Liked

Vladimir Nabokov
“Mnemosyne, one must admit, has shown herself to be a very careless girl.”
Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory

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