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View Diary: Books Go Boom!   'Elizabeth Costello' - J. M. Coetzee on the Problem of Evil (54 comments)

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  •  dense, seems unnecessarily elliptical & confusing (4+ / 0-)

    Yep, that sounds like the Nabokov I know and . . . admire from a distance.

    But seven pages of dense just takes some chewing. And Poetic allegorical science fiction works. Thanks.

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 09:43:28 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Part of the problem with getting into (4+ / 0-)

      Nabokov is that he's usually parodying two or three other works of literature, so if you haven't read those, you might be missing ... everything.

      That's true of a lot of writers, but most (I'm thinking Borges here) are more generous about letting the readers in to roam freely.  Nabokov's work can feel a little constrained by comparison.  Take "Music", one of his best and most popular short stories.  It's fine enough.  But you really need to have read Tolstoy's "Kreutzer Sonata" first.

      By the way, a really good short story for unlocking a lot of Nabokov's work is "Signs and Symbols", and the full text is here.  It's less superficially difficult than most of his work, but it's the most heavily analyzed, because it involves his most frequent obsessions and yet no one seems to have "solved" it successfully.

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 10:37:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I just started "Signs and Symbols". Like it muchly (4+ / 0-)

        but I'm to bed soon, and up early tomorrow. I'll save it for later, when I shall savor it.

        I've long enjoyed Borges' "Collected Fictions". Recently read "Selected Non-Fictions". I was impressed at the huge collection of eclectic titles he'd read by the time he was 20. And it was interesting to see, in his reviews and thought-pieces, how many of his later story ideas he was starting to work out.

        Also, recently reread Library of Babel. At his best, Borges has a gemlike brilliance, each detail mentioned starting ripples in the reader's imagination.

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 11:14:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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