vivifai, September 2, 2011 (view all comments by vivifai)
If it's a challenge you're looking for, you found it. VN's Pale Fire is full of the themes and imagery he is known for. The five-canto poem is precise and beautiful! I love this book.
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manwith7talents, January 6, 2010 (view all comments by manwith7talents)
A highly disorienting and engrossing novel that puts the reader in the uncomfortable position of depending on a narrator who seems highly unreliable and may be insane. A postmodern puzzle of a novel that nevertheless succeeds by making the reader identify emotionally with its characters, the wise poet John Shade and the crazed commentator Charles Kinbote, who may also be the king of the fictional country of Zembla, or possibly a figment of someone's imagination. Pale Fire dares the reader to ask questions about the nature of fiction, authorship, identity, sanity and madness, but offers few answers to these questions. This book bothered me with these unanswered questions for a long time after I finished it.
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Vintage Books USA -
Pale Fire consists of a long, elegiac poem written by John Shade and a rambling commentary on the poem produced by a Professor Charles Kinbote. Shade's poem is a touching, emotional work portraying the poet's attempt to understand and confront death. Kinbote's commentary, in contrast, interprets the poem as a veiled saga about the exiled king of a fabulous realm named Zembla. Pale Fire presents a humorous and unusual portrait of subjective reality. The unfettered forces of imagination combine with the ability to treat life as fiction and fiction as life, creating a dazzling novel of wit and high seriousness.
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