Vladimir Nabokov {Kindle ePUB PDF} The Original of Laura – eBook, Kindle eBook & PDF Read

The last 50 years of Salinger These books are funky teases They leave you wondering where they might have ended if the final meal had not been interrupted I hear J Alfred bleating for all dead authors That is not it at all That is not wh Almost done so a review will come soon but I felt compelled to say that I am in love not with the book itself but with the experience of reading it I feel like I ve been sitting at Nabokov s feet while he whispered a story into my ear by which I mean there s a particular sense of intimacy that comes from reading facsimiles of his hand written notes from seeing words scribbled out stricken even misspelled We ll never know what the novel could have become although I m seeing flashes of brilliance in these fragments but I feel closer to this decades dead man for having read this I feel closer to humanity for having read this And I definitely feel closer to my own fragile flawed creativity which is something I ve really needed as I ve been attempting and failing at National Novel Writing Month this November I am in love with the act of writing again because of this book and feeling inspired to once again pick up a project I started and stopped because I was too afraid of my own inadeuacies too afraid that I could not do ustice to this thing that digs so deeply into my own heart and soul I have a file on my laptop brimming with false starts all abandoned because they did not rise to my own too exacting demands for perfection I understand why Nabokov wanted these fragments burned never wanted the world to see anything less than perfection but there is beauty and glory in the imperfection and it is a good thing that The Original of Laura has seen the light of day not because it can stand on its own merits but for what it shows us of the man behind the curtain and what it shows us of ourselves we happy few we band of writersI ve been spending some time thinking about this being a novel in fragments and wondering whether it is in fact a novel Are these fragments a road map for a complete story albeit an unfinished one I think they are I think the entire story was laid out in Nabokov s head I think he knew what the novel would be if he could outrace death and finish it Alas we know how that race turned out There are impressions of it contained in the fragments particularly those from Wild s point of view I suppose Wild is a stand in for Nabokov whom I imagine felt himself faltering in the last years of his life and wished he could rewrite his own destiny in much the same way Wild contemplates deleting and redrawing portions of his anatomySpeaking of the deletion scenes the language and ideas of those seemed evocative of Ballard at least to this reader s rather surface level perception I wonder if Nabokov had read any of Ballard s work in those years preceding his deathAnyway I m not sure I can say much that s intelligent about The Original of Laura except that I loved reading it Even as a set of loosely connected fragments even as something that only hinted at the greatness that could have been it was a beautiful and alive Consider me firmly on Team Nabokov after this My published article to be incinerated salvaged by his wife finally published by his aged son this last work by Nabokov makes uite a story simply by existing Dmitri wonders whether he should be damned or thanked for defying his father s will and the answer is uneuivocally thankedAlways evident is the simple way Nabokov has fun with the language The potentate had been potent till the absurd age of eighty A few photographers moved among the crowd as indifferent to it as specters doing their spectral ob 101 This novel in fragments is as the final testament to the true genius of one of the greatest literary minds of the 20th century Incredibly erudite Nabokov reveled in weaving complex puzzles into his novels defying literary conventions and pushing the limits of the language In those regards The Originals of Laura is as complete as any of his worksSuperficially it is about a neurologist s experimentation with psychological self deletion and the unfinished manuscript in longhand he leaves behind after being claimed by a fatal heart attack 187 Even though the eponymous character is in the book everything about her is bound to remain blurry even her name which seems to have been made to expressly have another one modeled upon it by a fantastically lucky artists 85 Nabokov capriciously shifts among Flora Laura and FLaura The reader never gets a true sense of her as if only by identifying her with an unwritten half written rewritten difficult "book could one hope to render at last what 21 All of these uotations made me "could one hope to render at last what 21 All of these uotations made me if this book might not be exactly what Nabokov intended it to be Was that sentence meant to be left unfinished Was this novel meant to be left unfinished Is this the final frontier for an author who #Had Pioneered So Many #pioneered so many literary innovations and flouted form and structure in order to create something of even greater depth Is this his ultimate attempt to create new meaning from destruction by effacing expunging deleting rubbing out wiping out obliterating the only words on the last page of the book everything we have come to assume a book should beThe book itself allows readers to enjoy the divine light in destroying 181 by including perforated index cards that can be removed and rearranged in any order the reader sees fit This not only allows him to derive his own meaning from the book but literally to reshape the novel itself Unlike any other book this allows the reader the chance to truly engage in an act of destruction which develops paradoxically an element of creativeness in the totally new application of totally free will 213This will stand as one of Nabokov s most maddening masterpieces 221 one of his greatest puzzles and a book that demolishes literary boundaries and gives new meaning to deconstruction reader response and other literary approaches Normally I LOVE Nabokov His work is genius He is both subtle and powerful While reading The Original of Laura by Vladmir Nabokov I found myself getting angry And not ust any sort of anger its the kind of rage tha simmers The Pattern Of Health just below the surface for no descernable amount of time and picks at you annoys you This sort of anger leads to resentments and can cause one me to become so enraged that they cry when trying to explain the feeling verbally Of coure this is where my gender betrays me as no one takes a crying woman seriously However this anger stems not from the work itself at least not directly but from the backstory Which can be summed up uickly Dimitri Nabokov son of Vladmir Nabokov published this book posthumously despite Vladmir s wishes for it to never see the light of day were he to perish before its completion Simple enough right While I can sympathize with the grieving wife who could not bring herself to destroy her beloved husband s work I cannot support his son doing the exact opposite of his wishes 30 years after the death of both parents One theory I have been tossing around has to do with monetary value and some selfishness on Dimitri s side Have fun spending that money If the novel had been mostly complete and simply uneditted this would not bother me nearly as much but the truth is that the novel was far from complete I had trouble finding anything that truly resembled a novel or the brillance that I had previously experienced in his other works Where is this russian genius and the masterpiece I was anticipating What I found seemed to mostly consist of an outline references and what appear to be some ramblings of a dying man as he floats in and out of lucidity While that was interesting and thought provoking I cringed thinking about how Vladimir might feel knowing this is open to the public We can see the makings of a story something resembling the beginnings of Lolita as the main character seems to harbor some of the same feelings of disgust towards the male form with a slightly unheathly fascination with the young female counterpart But this dark base for a novel uickly disintegrates and becomes what a bulk of this book truly was Part of me finds most of what was published here to be uite personal and reveals a side of Vladmir only his family was privy to see This is I found to be particularly disturbing While our society is not above publishingournals or other texts of that nature I find this offensive I feel like Nabokov might be turning over in his grave Also Dimitri provides a sort of preface to the story It would be magnanimous of me to say it can be easily skipped over as it is uite crude and self serving He is not his father and never will be Perhaps he should do something of value on his own instead of exploiting his dad. Ragmented narrative dark yet playful preoccupied with mortality affords us one last experience of Nabokov's magnificent creativity the uintessence 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 nov. Ok reviewer in a leading newspaper This kind of puzzle which I am not interested in solving bears on the hope also noted by most reviewers that the book might give us a glimpse into Nabokov s writing method It does but not in a way I have seen any reviewer mention it shows that at least in this case he wrote around or between the cruxes of the plot They would have been clear to him the flesh between those bones would have been what took line by line inventing It is possible there may be novelists for whom this is helpfulPreciousnessI read this because the book is an example of preciousness which is something that happens when the visual appearance of pages an writer s typescripts experiments in typography and design letters reproduced in color begin to be interesting than the content of the writing There s an edition of small drawings by Walter Benjamin that is precious in this sense Benjamin didn t draw much and the book lavishes high resolution color photography on the small fragments Another is the recent edition of Emily Dickinson s poems on envelopes reproduced natural size and in color and provided with keys on the opposing pages Robert Walser s microscripts have also been reproduced this way natural size in color on coated stock In this case it s 3 x 5 cards and they are reproduced in color front and back even when the backs have nothing but an X on them The result could be called fetishized but I do not think that word illiminates much Precious is better it implies the cards are valuable like old postage stamps or diminutive works of art and it suggests there is a relation between the visual ualities of the cards Nabokov s handwriting and the interest of his words and ideas but there isn t Preciousness here is the spurious imposition of visual significance on literary meaningPreciousness is a problem in a number of novels and poems that have images in them so I am studying it as part of my writing with images project More on this on writingwithimagescom2 texts as imagesPS an astonishing imageAnd last thing the central visual image in these fragments is the mental exercise of drawing yourself in your imagination on the inner surfaces of your closed eyelids and then erasing yourself an imagined and then real act of deliberate self destruction That is am amazing idea for a novel even today even after Deleuze s BwO Ballard and all the rest It s an amazing idea memorable in itself than most books I ve read this year Let s first say what this book is a series of fragments on index cards ordered and selected by Nabokov s son Dmitri after the death of father Vladimir And how it s been manufactured a book that ought to hold five or six hundred pages udging by it s dimensions holds about 200 single sided images of the index cards as directly pencilled by Nabokov on heavy stock paper with actual perforations So that the reader can indulge his own postmodernistic need to recontextualize the assemblage by imposing his own order This is a stupid gambit some cards hold eight or ten stabs at notes on unspecified topics spoken or thought of by unknown characters In no way does any of this resemble a novel a story or even ust a book But still if you stick with it the old writer emerges here lingering at his own deathbed and worrying away at the fringes of a narrative Nothing that holds together mostly really only the vaguest of roadmaps to a future clarity that he would unfortunately never regain But he won t be entirely defeated either and that s what this assemblage gambles that readers will feel And it s true With the millions of words published in his lifetime Nabokov here is diminished dwindling down a steep decline knowing that he will never survive to birth a long form work Knowing that his valedictory prose will end not on symphonic scale but in the single breath of a final syllable of something like a haiku And the Nabokov reader will feel that Something like a Parker or a Coltrane taking stabs at riffs that may or may not ever make any final solo we find VN touching certain familiar bases doubling back on themes he s used over the years Some fragments contain multiple blank spots he ll come back to later on self extinctionself immolation torAs I destroyed my thorax I also destroyed blank and the blank and the laughing people in theaters with a not longer visible stage or screen and the blank and the blank in the cemetery of the asymmetrical heartautosuggestion autosugetistautosuggestiveSafe to say that Mr Nabokov would fairly abhor this airing of his secret notes and he would be right He s been done no favors by having a son reverse his stated wish to have this material destroyed But then again in One Final Nabokovian Reversal you have to get back to the physical book again this non book and try imagining it some ten or fifteen years from now All the pre perfed cards long removed and scattered to the winds the book would by then contain only a neatly blocked out empty space a secret hiding place as in the golden era of detective stories A place where there might be who knows a long ago hotel key a hardcandy be who knows a long ago hotel key a hardcandy a curious name A dried and pinned butterfly And you have to think Nabokov #would like that idea betterYou ll only get a uick glimpse #like that idea betterYou ll only get a uick glimpse two of the old man in this construction but if you know who you re looking for the mark is indelible Every now and then she would turn up for a few moments between trains between planes between lovers My morning sleep would be interupted by heartrending sounds a window opening a little bustle downstairs a trunk coming a trunk going distant telephone conversations that seem to be conducted in conspiratorial whispers If shivering in my nightshirt I dared to waylay her all she said would be you really ought to lose some weight or I hope you transferred that money as I indicated and all doors closed again That s him alright As an entry in the crowded and lucrative subgenre of first drafts scribbled on index cards by legendary authors buried for three decades and published for by their cranky sons before they croak this book is up there in spirit with Raymond Carver s 171 Plots Scribbled Drunkenly on Napkins Truman Capote s Ideas On Whom to Exploit For My Next Bestseller and Kingsley Amis s Letters of Apology to Every Woman I Wronged Vols 1 170 The scribbled incoherences in this seuence of transcribed index cards tease us "With The Potential Of "the potential of lost final Nabokov masterpiece and cry out for some brave lunatic to write a version based on the material here and reap the subseuent law suit from the violent defender of pater s work Dmitri If you paid for this you effectively placed your money in a shredder still a worthwhile purchase than a 1899 pizza Short version I feel dirty inside for even having glanced at this book Or you can read the longer version belowOoh it s been a good week so far On Tuesday I read a wonderful kiss and tell expos in The Star about Katie Price s steamy love triangle The picture of her boyfriend Alex Reid dressed in women s underwear was particularly good Then on Wednesday I watched the TV mini series on the ueen and was able to gloat over her pain as the tabloid press served up all the Elements Of Cartography juicy details about Charles Diana and Camilla And earlier today while visiting Heffers I picked up a copy of The Original of Laura I wasust starting to read Vladimir Nabokov s notes for his unfinished novel which he d expressly said should be destroyed and never shown to the world what a treat He had this stupid habit of burning all his drafts like John Shade in Pale Fire evidently death had caught him by surprise and he hadn t managed to get rid of this lot Then damn I d only got a few pages into it when a friend SMSed me with a rumor about a secret webcam that had somehow been introduced into Jodie Foster s bathroom He said it was incredible what you could see but it was only a matter of time before she found out about it so I d better hustle I rushed home and made the most of my opportunity I m sure I ll get to the Nabokov tomorrow Un embarras de riches as the Master might have put it Lightning reviewCash grab by VVN s son which hey shit is pretty nifty in that the pages are perforated so you can remove the index cards and assemble the story however you want Says a lot about how little was on the vine that I m supposed to play Choose What can be sadder than a discouraged artist dying not from his own commonplace maladies but from the cancer of oblivion Vladimir Nabokov The Original of Laura effaceexpungeerasedeleterub outwipe outobliteratedying is fun Publishing unfinished novels art in progress the aborted by the author s deathsuicide final work must be a challenge I think of Kafka s The Trial DFW s The Pale King Fitzgerald s The Love of the Last Tycoon hell. V now seventy five the Russian novelist's only surviving heir and translator of many of his books has wrestled for three 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 of the This review will be as fragmented as the novel in uestion If you are looking for a coherent well reasoned review check out Misha s1 My in law s annual Christmas gift exchange morphed into a facebook group this year Usually I ot down gift card and three store names on the tiny piece of paper and toss it into the hat but the leisurely www format enticed me into listing a few book titles Evidently my sister in law who is not an avid reader carried a hard copy of the list into the local BN and told the clerk I need a couple of these This led to me receiving this book and Man Walks Into A Room by Nicole Krauss Because of this I now love my in laws and facebook ust a little bit 2 For anyone who may be unaware this is not a complete Nabokov book but merely the fragments of a work in progress at the time of his death His family had orders to burn it but anyone who is intrigued by literary trivia knows that that was as likely to happen as an aging rock band retiring for good after their first farewell tour3 Oh the booklust This book is high in the running for being the most beautiful book that I own Right now it s a dead heat between this one and McSweeney s 20 The tastefully black dust cover lifts to reveal a cover that is a reproduction of the first and last index card as ordered within the book The pages are of a thick paper stock on that in a minute and the book smells really good4 Dmitri says that this is only a few index cards short of a complete first draft I find this statement a bit dubious as there is not a lot of text here about thirty typeset pages according to one website 5 At least three story threads can be discerned from what we are givenA Flora A promiscuous young woman who leaves a trail of broken boys in her wake Her main goal seems to have been to marry rich and carry on a life of leisureB Laura A book that appears to have been written about Flora by a former lover Eric Rawitch At one point Nabokov seems to conflate the two threads by the use of the name FLauraC Phillip Wild An aging morbidly obese neurologist He is the husband of Flora and plays the role of sugar daddy As his health fails he begins the process of suicide via psychic self immolation 6 As Misha mentioned in her review Phillip s process of mentally deleting himself has an uncanny resemblance to some of the work of JG Ballard His disgust with his own body also reminded me of the few things that I have sampled from Samuel Beckett It would be interesting to know if Nabokov had read or held an opinion of either writer7 The preface was penned by Dmitri Nabokov the only son of Vladimir and the man who made the final decision to unleash this upon the literary world He seems to be a fine writer in his own right but I was confused as to whether the last paragraph of the preface was an attempt at wry humor or if Dmitri suffers from arrogance8 Something I only recently learned Nabokov did all of his writing on index cards and he would often shuffle the cards around into different orders during the creative process Hence the heavy paper stock mentioned above Each page is a reproduction of an index card in Nabokov s own handwriting Sueee with the text of the card printed below with very few corrections from the written text This leads to uestions such as whether Nabokov really misspelled stomach as stomack throughout the book or if this was going to evolve into some of his beloved word trickery at a later point 9 The index cards are perforated thus allowing a reader to punch out all of the cards and rearrange them as Nabokov might have done I so want to do this even though it brings me into great conflict with my usual anally retentive overprotectiveness of books10 I m old married and ensconced in the corporate world at the moment hence the only drugs that I partake of currently are the FDA approved ones However it is interesting to note that all of the pages contain the exact same layout If one punched out all of the cards there would be a substantial cubby hole in the book that could be used to hide one s stash I would love to see the sales of this book skyrocket because of this fact as hippie kids tried to shelve it between that Abbie Hoffman reader and On the Road while trying to maintain straight faces and were at the same time suckered into reading Nabokov The disdain of both father and son Nabokov at such a notion is kind of funny too11 The cards are reproduced faithfully on both front and back Some of the backs are smudged and some have a big penciled X I would love to know if the X meant that the passage needed editing or instead that it was good to go I m assuming the latter12 Googling This Title Seems To this title seems to that Dmitri has taken uite a verbal beating for releasing this book of fragments Yes releasing it especially in that strategically pre Christmas shopping time of early November probably constitutes a money grab at some level There is one way to definitively determine whether or not this was complete enough to have warranted a release Put out the index cards for Lolita if they still exist in the exact same format and let readers compare how they stack up to the final draft I would certainly buy itor at the very least put it on my Christmas list13 I thoroughly enjoyed this and believe that anyone who is a Nabokov fanboygirl will enjoy it likewise It is definitely fragmented but there are still little flashes of the man s literary genius throughout Another great thing is that a reader can guzzle this down in a little over an hour I m not even sure if the same can be said for most of his short stories On preciousnessReviews of this book were repetitively concerned with two things whether Dmiti Nabokov should have published it against his father s wishes I can t see the interest of this uestion and what effect it will have on Nabokov s reputation it will do severe damage according to Jonathan Bate in The Telegraph November 15 2009 the book is better suited to a college ethics class according to Alexander Theroux Wall Street Journal November 20 2009 Almost every review thirty are listed on complete reviewcom also praised some of Nabokov s sentences and panned others I can t see what s learned by thatReviewers also agreed there isn t much in the fragments that too much had been made of them Philip Henscher Spectator November 25 2009 called the book a sphinx without a secret and Michiko Kakutani said or less the same in the NYT But the book does have secrets As Kakutani points out this is the author of Pale Fire and other postmodern novels and so we could have expected something similarly clever here PuzzlesThe closest any review I ve found comes to this is David Gates Nabokov s Last Puzzle NYTBR November 11 2009 He points out the open endedness of the fragments How did Nabokov plan to connect these two strands of his story the mistress destroying lover and the self annihilating scientist We ll never know Wild s arcane techniue of self erasure must be connected somehow or other with the novelist s annihilating his mistress in the act of portraying her the association of depiction with destruction is common to both But the writer can t have destroyed her in the literal act of writing since at one point we see the still living Flora beginning to read a paperback copy of the novel in which Laura dies Flora beginning to read a paperback copy of the novel in which Laura dies me show you your wonderful death says a friend who s already "Finished The Book You Ll Scream With "the book You ll scream with It s the craziest death in the world So does the novel destroy Flora in some figurative sense Perhaps reading it goads her cuckolded husband who calls it a maddening masterpiece into using his mental eraser on her We assume that the original of Laura has to die some crazy death or other as her fictive double does but their creator beat them both to the finish line And here s a puzzle for hard core Nabokov obsessives From a free standing paragraph headed End of penult chapter we infer that after Wild dies of a heart attack the novelist lover gets hold of his testament they seem to have the same typist and arranges for its publication though we don t know how where or why Are we to suspect that the lover has invented Wild s mystic manuscript And even Wild himself Readers of Pale Fire still argue over whether Shade invented Kinbote or vice versa Yet the lover has already made Wild a character in the Laura novel under the transparent name of Philidor Sauvage Would even a trickster like Nabokov invent a character who invents a character and then invents a pseudonym for him Nabokovians are welcome to take it from here as long as I don t have to go with them And while they re at it who s the oddly named Ivan Vaughan who seems to know Flora and who appears in one uncompleted chapter to tell us that the novel My Laura was torn apart by a bo. 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 Nabokov's wife Vera could not bear to destroy her husband's last work and when she died the fate of the manuscript fell to her son Dmitri Naboko.

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The Original of Laura

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