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The Original of Lauraby Vladimir Nabokov
"The manuscript gets stranger and more fitfully elliptical in the second half....[I]t isn't a stretch to imagine a wretched Nabokov in his Lausanne hospital bed, wishing to "efface/expunge/erase/delete/rub out/wipe out/obliterate" his offending body parts. These are the words listed on the last card of this tantalizing, fascinating, occasionally perplexing manuscript. Pity he didn't get to finish it. Fortunate we get to see it at all." Heller McAlpin, The Christian Science Monitor (read the entire Christian Science Monitor review)
Synopses & Reviews
At last: Vladimir Nabokov's final and unfinished novel, in print — thirty years after his death, years in which the fate of The Original of Laura was in constant and closely watched question.
When Nabokov died in 1977, he left instructions for his heirs to burn the 138 handwritten index cards that made up the rough draft of The Original of Laura. But Nabokov's wife, Vera, couldn't bear to destroy her husband's last work, and when she died, the fate of the manuscript fell to her son.
Dmitri Nabokov, now seventy-four — the Russian novelist's only surviving heir, and translator of many of his books — has struggled for decades with the decision of whether to honor his father's wish or preserve for posterity the last piece of writing of one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. His decision finally to allow publication will be passionately welcomed by both scholars and general readers. And the ingenious format of the book (which includes removable facsimiles of the index cards) will make an even more extraordinary occasion of this publishing event.
In its fragmented narrative — dark yet playful, preoccupied with mortality — we are given one last experience of a writer's unparalleled creativity, a glimpse of his last days, and a body of work finding its apotheosis.
Published for the very first time, an early novel by Nobel Laureate and literary master José Saramago that tells the intertwined stories of the residents of a faded Lisbon apartment building in the late 1940s.
A previously unpublished novel by a literary master, Skylight tells the intertwined stories of the residents of a faded apartment building in 1940s Lisbon.
Silvestre and Mariana, a happily married elderly couple, take in a young nomad, Abel, and soon discover their many differences. Adriana loves Beethoven more than any man, but her budding sexuality brings new feelings to the surface. Carmen left Galicia to marry humble Emilio, but hates Lisbon and longs for her first love, Manolo. Lidia used to work the streets, but now shes kept by Paulo, a wealthy man with a wandering eye.
These are just some of the characters in this early work, completed by Saramago in 1953 but never published until now. With his characteristic compassion, depth, and wit, Saramago shows us the quiet contentment of a happy family and the infectious poison of an unhappy one. We see his characters most intimate moments as well as the casual encounters particular to neighbors living in close proximity. Skylight is a portrait of ordinary people, painted by a master of the quotidian, a great observer of the immense beauty and profound hardships of the modern world.
When Vladimir Nabokov died in 1977, he left instructions for his heirs to burn the 138 handwritten index cards that made up the rough draft of his final and unfinished novel, The Original of Laura. But Nabokovs wife, Vera, could not bear to destroy her husbands last work, and when she died, the fate of the manuscript fell to her son. Dmitri Nabokov, now seventy-fivethe Russian novelists only surviving heir, and translator of many of his bookshas wrestled for three decades with the decision of whether to honor his fathers wish or preserve for posterity the last piece of writing of one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. His decision finally to allow publication of the fragmented narrativedark yet playful, preoccupied with mortalityaffords us one last experience of Nabokovs magnificent creativity, the quintessence of his unparalleled body of work.
Photos of the handwritten index cards accompany the text. They are perforated and can be removed and rearranged, as the author likely did when he was writing the novel.
About the Author
Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov was born on April 23, 1899, in St. Petersburg, Russia. As a young man, he studied Slavic and romance languages at Trinity College, Cambridge, taking his honors degree in 1922. For the next eighteen years he lived in Berlin and Paris, writing prolifically in Russian under the pseudonym Sirin and supporting himself through translations, lessons in English and tennis, and by composing the first crossword puzzles in Russian. In 1925 he married Vera Slonim, with whom he had one child, a son, Dmitri.
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