[Epub] ↠ Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle Author Vladimir Nabokov – Diclofenac16.us

Ada, or Ardor: A Family ChroniclePublished Two Weeks After His Seventieth Birthday, Ada, Or Ardor Is One Of Nabokov S Greatest Masterpieces, The Glorious Culmination Of His Career As A Novelist It Tells A Love Story Troubled By Incest But It Is Also At Once A Fairy Tale, Epic, Philosophical Treatise On The Nature Of Time, Parody Of The History Of The Novel, And Erotic Catalogue Ada, Or Ardor Is No Less Than The Superb Work Of An Imagination At White HeatThis Is The First American Edition To Include The Extensive And Ingeniously Sardonic Appendix By The Author, Written Under The Anagrammatic Pseudonym Vivian Darkbloom

[Epub] ↠ Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle Author Vladimir Nabokov – Diclofenac16.us
  • Paperback
  • 604 pages
  • Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle
  • Vladimir Nabokov
  • English
  • 22 March 2019
  • 0679725229

    10 thoughts on “[Epub] ↠ Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle Author Vladimir Nabokov – Diclofenac16.us


  1. says:

    She was soon ready, and they kissed tenderly in their hall way, between lift and stairs, before separating for a few minutes Tower , she murmured in reply to his questioning glance, just as she used to do on those honeyed mornings in the past, when checking up on happiness And you A regular ziggurat A book that opens with a pedigree of aristocratic sounding Russian names could easily give the impression that a classic family epic will be the reader s part That misleading family tree is o She was soon ready, and they kissed tenderly in their hall way, between lift and stairs, before separating for a few minutes Tower , she murmured in reply to his questioning glance, just as she used to do on those honeyed mornings in the past, when checking up on happiness And you A regular ziggurat A book that opens with a pedigree of aristocratic sounding Russian names could easily give the impression that a classic family epic will be the reader s part That misleading family tree is only the beginning of the games Nabokov will play with the reader Nabokov lures the reader into to a captivating, magical dream world, abysmal and treacherous, as well as full of illusions and spiced with jokey nods and parodic takes on honorable world literature Ada is set on Antiterra, a distorted world where Americans speak Russian and Time does not synchronize with Earth time Van and Ada Veen who are, according to the family tree, cousins are bright and pretty teenagers when they throw themselves into a passionate idyll during a long languorous summer spent on the paradisiacal family estate Ardis Soon they discover the truth that has been scrupulously buried to them in reality they are brother and sister Their unusual bond chances on numerous obstacles and leads to the tragic demise of their uterine half sister Lucette, who is also in love with Van Through the memoirs of the now aged Van, interlaced with Ada s comments, the baffled reader learns how their incestuous love weathers out long years of separation, infidelity, frequent brothel visits and Ada s marriage to another Sinking into the surreal world of Ada Nabokov s longest takes time, but the persistent reader is rewarded with a multi layered, exuberant and high flown novel Anyone wishing further digging into and exploring all the literary and cultural references of the novel can spend many delicious hours on Adaonline, where Brian Boyd, Nabokov s biographer, offers an elaborately annotated version of AdaToren , lispelde ze als antwoord op zijn vragende blik, precies zoals wanneer ze op die honingochtenden in het verleden elkaars geluk de maat namen En jij Een ware ziggurat.Een boek dat opent met een stamboom vol aristocratische Russische namen wekt de indruk dat een klassiek familie epos je deel zal zijn Die misleidende stamboom is tekenend voor de spelletjes die Nabokov met de lezer zal spelen hij voert je mee naar een bevreemdende, magische droomwereld, vol illusies en gekruid met knipoogjes naar en parodie n op monumenten uit de wereldliteratuur Ada speelt zich af op Antiterra, een vervormde wereld waar Amerikanen Russisch spreken en de Tijd niet synchroon met de aardse tijd verloopt Van en Ada Veen volgens de stamboom neef en nicht zijn prille tieners als ze zich tijdens een langoureuze zomer op het paradijselijke familielandgoed Ardis in een passionele idylle storten Al snel ontdekken ze de angstvallig verzwegen waarheid in werkelijkheid zijn ze broer en zus Hun ongewone band stuit op talrijke hinderpalen en leidt tot de tragische ondergang van hun uteriene halfzus Lucette, die ook verliefd is op Van In de memoires van de nu stokoude Van, gelardeerd met commentaar van Ada, lees je hoe hun incestueuze liefde jarenlange scheidingen, ontrouw, frequente bordeelbezoeken en het huwelijk van Ada doorstaat Je in de surre le wereld van Ada verdiepen vergt tijd, maar wie volhoudt wacht een veelgelaagd en buitenissig boek dat garant staat voor urenlang leesplezier Wie van literair speurwerk houdt, en zich verder in de vele betekenissen en, literaire en culturele verwijzingen van het boek wil ingraven, kan terecht op , waar je een van a tot z geannoteerde versie van Ada vindt


  2. says:

    One of the objects that immediately comes to mind when I think back to my childhood is a red rowboat exactly like the one in my avatar That s no coincidence of course as the avatar started out as an attempt at a symbolic self portrait based on personal memories If there is coincidence here, it lies in the fact that a red row boat called Souvenance is a recurrent memory for Van Veen, the narrator of Ada, or Ardor I counted at least four mentions of that red rowboat with its mobile inlay of r One of the objects that immediately comes to mind when I think back to my childhood is a red rowboat exactly like the one in my avatar That s no coincidence of course as the avatar started out as an attempt at a symbolic self portrait based on personal memories If there is coincidence here, it lies in the fact that a red row boat called Souvenance is a recurrent memory for Van Veen, the narrator of Ada, or Ardor I counted at least four mentions of that red rowboat with its mobile inlay of reflective ripples, and each time, I was transported out of Nabokov s story and into my own, and then I would find that entire pages of Ada, or Ardor were a complete blank because I was remembering a different narrative..Paying attention was a problem throughout my reading, and for reasons other than memory triggers In the beginning, I failed to fully engage with the characters Ada herself irritated me quite a bit early Ada is an impossibly pedantic twelve year old , and whenever the narrative focused on her, I wandered off But then, as if Nabokov knew I d had enough of Ada, she disappeared from the narrative for a long stretch In the last image we get of early Ada, she is standing against a tree, her shoulder blades pressed against the trunk, reminding us of a caterpillar clinging to the bark The later Ada, very often heard through letters, is a muchinteresting character, as if she d undergone some kind of metamorphosis since we d last seen her I realised that the picture we had of her in the early sections was the narrator s version, necessarily coloured by his obsessive love for her, whereas the Ada of the letters was a character speaking in her own voice for the first time There were many things about this book I found interesting though the reading of it wore me out I didn t ever want to stop reading it, but I did want to move faster through the book, something I couldn t do because Nabokov demands attention all the time like a spoilt child You can t skim read if you even try, he punishes you by making you feel completely lost so that you have to go back and reread what you ve missed Is it any wonder that it took me six weeks to get through it no, that can t be right, let me check my automnally tocking calendar Ok, it took me exactly three Oknovber weeks but they felt like six That s another coincidence our varying perceptions of Time and the unreliability of memory are some of the themes in the book, and my having to go back in order to go forward is also fitting because the central twist seems to be reversal back to front, inside out, upside down An apt illustration of the reversal theme is Van s brief stint as a circus performer Using the stage name, Mascodagama , he performs stunts while walking on his hands Nabokov underlines the significance of this episode in case we ve missed it It was the standing of a metaphor on its head not for the sake of the trick s difficulty, but in order to perceive an ascending waterfall or a sunrise in reverse a triumph over the ardis of time.The word ardis has huge significance in the novel too We are told that it means the point of an arrow in Greek, and Nabokov chooses the word as the name of the most significant location in the novel, Ardis Hall, to which the arrow of Time in the narrative points constantly The arbors of Ardis are an idyllic Garden of Eden in which ardorous Ada and Van are a new Adam and Eve and a reversal again with Ada as Ada m and Van Veen as Eve , the first children, and straight out of Finnegans Wake Baudelaire s poem, L invitation au voyage view spoiler Mon enfant, ma soeur,Songe la douceurD aller l bas vivre ensemble Aimer loisir,Aimer et mourirAu pays qui te ressemble L , tout n est qu ordre et beaut ,Luxe, calme et volupt.My child, my sister,Think of the tendernessOf living together, down thereLoving each otherLoving and dyingIn a land that resembles you..There, all is but order and beauty,Sumptuous stillness and sensuous pleasure my translation hide spoiler Nabokov doesn t quote Baudelaire but he recalls his poem in a parody version Mon enfant, ma soeurSonge l epaisseur, Du grand ch ne Tagne Songe la montagne, Songe la douceurHe gives a translation of that verse in the notes at the back of the book my child, my sister, think of the thickness of the big oak at Tagne, think of the mountain, think of the tenderness This veiled reference to Baudelaire occurs in the narrative just when the real Charles Baudelaire has been conflated with the real Ren de Chateaubriand into a fictional entomologist called Charles Chateaubriand Nabokov s parody is itself a conflation of the Baudelaire poem with one by Chateaubriand Later in the narrative, lines from the Chateaubriand poem, Souvenir du pays de France are recalled making a link with the parodied Baudelaire poem view spoiler Ma soeur, te souvient il encoreDu ch teau que baignait la Dore Oh qui me rendra mon H l ne, Et ma montagne et le grand ch ne These lines are parodied as My sister, do you still recallThe blue Ladore and Ardis Hall Oh qui me rendra ma collineEt le grand ch ne and my colleenIncidentally, there are numerous references throughout the book to Ireland Irish phrases, Irish people and their physiognomy Van s maternal great grandmother was Irish hide spoiler To revert to the central theme of reversal, the novel takes place on a planet called Antiterra or Demonia where another planet known as Terra is mentioned sometimes but as if it were only an imagined place, the equivalent of our heaven accounts of it are found mostly in literature or in the records kept by terrapists of patients suffering from hallucinations or altered states view spoiler Speaking of psychoanalysis, Freud is definitely given the cold shoulder he s referred to as Froid cold hide spoiler In Antiterra, the United States or Estotia, seems to be governed by Russians a nice little joke on Nabokov s part, and in Europe, France is governed by an English king as if France became a British dominion after the battle of Waterloo Iraq is a giant national park, another Eden.The action of the novel takes place between 1870 and the 1960s but the Antiterra of the 1870s is a muchadvanced place than our world was at that time, though scientific progress has taken a different direction entirely, with, for example, dorophones instead of telephones, which, oddly and sometimes disastrously, are dependent on the plumbing system rather than on any network of cables.The book is full of anagrams and puns and word games the characters even play scrabble at one point so it is tempting to sniff out the word odour in dorophone Nabokov s anagrammatic inventions don t always have to correspond letter for letter He is particularly playful when it comes to character s names, especially minor characters a coachman whose predecessor left after an incident when he farted in his mistresses presence, is called Fartokoff Another character who smokes is called Tobakov But Van himself admits to being an incorrigible joker view spoiler Ich bin ein unverbesserlicher Witzbold hide spoiler so we soon learn to expect jokes in unexpected places The opening lines make fun of the English translation of the famous opening lines of Anna Karenina by turning them inside out All happy families areor less dissimilar all unhappy ones areor less alike This is only the beginning of a long list of references to famous writers, some of which are simple puns on writers names or titles of books as Van says, he would die with a pun on his lips , while others are mischievous satire see the updates But Nabokov refers to his own books in a tongue in cheek way too the poet John Shade from Pale Fire is mentioned several times and Ada s sister Lucette, a kind of permanent twelve year old, references the character Dolores from LolitaI m like Dolores when she says she s only a picture painted on air Never could finish that novel much too pretentiousanswers Van The narrative is mostly in the third person and is told simultaneously in several time periods a present , this ultimate twilight when the narrative is being written by elderly Van from his bed chair and various time periods in his past life, slipping from one to the other with the use of asides sometimes in the first person, as the Van and Ada of the present discuss the narrative of the past in which they are both referred to in the third person view spoiler To give an example of the complexity of the approach at one point, after a long digression in the narrative of the past when the characters bicycles had been abandoned in a forest and they had wondered far from the spot where they left them, the Van of the present discusses how to get the characters back to where they left the bicycles with the Ada of the presentWe must now find our bicycles, said Van, we are lost in another part of the forest Oh let s not return yet, she Ada cried, oh, wait But I want to make sure of our whereabouts and when bouts, said Van, It is a philosophical needhide spoiler Van is constantly concerned with fixing the coordinates of Space and catching sight of the lining of Time, and with how duration expands and contracts depending on whether it s in the past or in the present view spoiler The Ladore river at Ardis is a play on the french word for duration la dur e hide spoiler The second last section is written in the style of an essay on the relationship of Time and Space, thoughts which Van rehearses in his head in the now of a journey which has him driving forwards in Space but backwards in time towards Ada as he remembers her But it can also be seen as him moving backwards in Space to a place he s lived in before, but forward in time towards a new Ada transformed by Time This book is one giant ardis you can turn it inside out and back to front and upside down and it will still point to Time .Something for Proust fans view spoiler The novel is being written by the elderly narrator on his death bed, and he talks of writing himself out of life into fiction as Proust did The manuscript is being typed up and edited by a patient young woman not unlike Proust s Celeste Albaret The major part of the narrator s recollections concern his childhood and youth and the places he spent time in during that period There s a huge focus on his obsessive love and his jealousy There s a period when he lives in a private seclusion with a lover almost as if she s his prisoner Then there s the lover who dies in an accident In the later sections we see characters altered by Time yet the narrator himself is somehow less altered than others Plus there s the fact that of all the authors referenced in the book, Proust s name is by far the most often cited See the updates for quotes which directly recall Proust s Recherche It s tempting to see the book as Nabokov s salute to A la Recherche du Temps Perdu hide spoiler Something for everyone view spoiler Test Are you perhapsproficient in languages than you think Here s a little snippet from a treatise on contraception devices in a patois created by Nabokov called Kapuscan Sole sura metoda por decevor natura, est por un strong guy de contino contino contino jusque le plesir brimz et lors, a lulitima instanta, svitchera a l altra gropa ma perquoi una femme ardora andor ponderosa ne se retorna kvick enof, la transita e facilitata per positio torovago Hint torovago is not the missionary position. hide spoiler


  3. says:

    Ada, or Ardor A Family Chronicle is a fabulous and fanciful amorous dystopia Right away, with his trial balloon All happy families areor less dissimilar all unhappy ones areor less alike, Vladimir Nabokov shows that his love story is a wicked and highly intellectual parody of everything, of all and sundry in literary world and especially of Leo Tolstoy with his disdainful arrogance of a falsely omniscient nobleman Paraphrasing his showy beginning of Anna KareninaHappy fam Ada, or Ardor A Family Chronicle is a fabulous and fanciful amorous dystopia Right away, with his trial balloon All happy families areor less dissimilar all unhappy ones areor less alike, Vladimir Nabokov shows that his love story is a wicked and highly intellectual parody of everything, of all and sundry in literary world and especially of Leo Tolstoy with his disdainful arrogance of a falsely omniscient nobleman Paraphrasing his showy beginning of Anna KareninaHappy families are all alike every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, Vladimir Nabokov lets us know that this ostentatious statement is just a hollow and preposterous generalization I deduce, said the boy, three main facts that not yet married Marina and her married sister hibernated in my lieu de naissance that Marina had her own Dr Krolik, pour ainsi dire and that the orchids came from Demon who preferred to stay by the sea, his dark blue great grandmother I can add, said the girl, that the petal belongs to the common Butterfly Orchis that my mother was even crazier than her sister and that the paper flower so cavalierly dismissed is a perfectly recognizable reproduction of an early spring sanicle that I saw in profusion on hills in coastal California last February Dr Krolik, our local naturalist, to whom you, Van, have referred, as Jane Austen might have phrased it, for the sake of rapid narrative information you recall Brown, don t you, Smith , has determined the example I brought back from Sacramento to Ardis, as the Bear Foot, B,E,A,R, my love, not my foot or yours, or the Stabian flower girl s an allusion, which your father, who, according to Blanche, is also mine, would understand like this American finger snap You will be grateful, she continued, embracing him, for my not mentioning its scientific name Incidentally the other foot the Pied de Lion from that poor little Christmas larch, is by the same hand possibly belonging to a very sick Chinese boy who came all the way from Barkley College This baffling and brain crushing conversation of two frivolous children smartly demonstrates that everything mocks everything else Butterflies mock flowers and orchids mock butterflies The absurd family tree mocks genealogy of monarchs Ada s supposed father s death of exposure caused by running naked into the woods parodies the last days of Leo Tolstoy Beating the blackmailer with alpenstock mocks the Leon Trotsky s murder Ada s husband contracting tuberculosis in Switzerland, of all places, is a jeering allusion to The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann.Lucette s suicide, while cruising on the transatlantic ship, the Tobakoff, is a funny reference to the catastrophic voyage of Titanic And so on ad infinitum.Refuting the determinist s statementelegantly unconsciousness, far from awaiting us, with flyback and noose, somewhere ahead, envelops both the Past and the Present from all conceivable sides, being a character not of Time itself but of organic decline natural to all things whether conscious of Time or not That I know others die is irrelevant to the case I also know that you, and, probably, I, were born, but that does not prove we went through the chronal phase called the Past my Present, my brief span of consciousness, tells me I did, not the silent thunder of the infinite unconsciousness proper to my birth fifty two years and 195 days ago.Everything mocks everything else and only time is unique Time doesn t stand still Time is an omnipresent hunter and in the end it always tracks us down


  4. says:

    Oh man, what can I say about this book Just that I could probably reread Ada, and only Ada, for the rest of my life and still feel satisfied For the most part, I read this book the way I usually read the first time around that is, superficially, just trying to make general sense of what s going on and enjoying the sexy parts of which there are many but on the few occasions that I sat down and made an effort to decipher the puns and allusions, things just started to click into place, and Oh man, what can I say about this book Just that I could probably reread Ada, and only Ada, for the rest of my life and still feel satisfied For the most part, I read this book the way I usually read the first time around that is, superficially, just trying to make general sense of what s going on and enjoying the sexy parts of which there are many but on the few occasions that I sat down and made an effort to decipher the puns and allusions, things just started to click into place, and I was amazed by how gorgeous and rich it all was and regretted not having readclosely the entire time I ve noticed that the phrase Faberge egg gets tossed around a lot in reviews of this book I ve never seen one, but if looking at one of those eggs can make you think not only, Wow, this is really detailed and technically superb and elitist, but also, Wow, this is what it s all about, then yes, this book is like a Faberge egg In short, as The New York Times Book Review says on the cover of the book please note the attribution of the quote, Josh A great work of art


  5. says:

    Maybe the only thing that hints at a sense of Time is rhythm not the recurrent beats of the rhythm but the gap between two such beats, the gray gap between black beats the Tender IntervalVladimir Nabokov, Ada, or Ardor A Family Chronicle Incest, a game the Whole Family Can Play, NOT by Milton s blind BradleyPart I There s a whole swath of novels I purchased in my twenties but knowing the authors genius never felt quite ready to read ah, tomorrow It took me years to crack open thMaybe the only thing that hints at a sense of Time is rhythm not the recurrent beats of the rhythm but the gap between two such beats, the gray gap between black beats the Tender IntervalVladimir Nabokov, Ada, or Ardor A Family Chronicle Incest, a game the Whole Family Can Play, NOT by Milton s blind BradleyPart I There s a whole swath of novels I purchased in my twenties but knowing the authors genius never felt quite ready to read ah, tomorrow It took me years to crack open these Infinite Jests , these Recognitions and Brothers Karamazovzzzzz , etc Well, after reading 11 previous not in time only in MY reading are some actually previous and not always prime Nabokov novels, and never really tripped up or down by any, I was finally in the right, untight spot in my life to read Ada, or Ardor and give that novel thethan titular attention Nabokov s novels all demand Please remember people, this novel is so muchthan a book about a cousin brother who loves his cousin sister there is also a 1 2 sister.IT is a book about time, memory, love It is a novel about the past and the present no not the future, never the future IT is a romance of Tolstoy, Proust AND Time.IT is festooned with all the fantastic elements of Nabokov his language, his structural genius, his playful doubling, his love of place and people Part II The whole novel is a giant painting where Nabokov unscrews all his en plein air oils and surrounds the canvas He isn t satisfied with painting one side No The Big N wants to unwind and unroll that big bottomed cotton canvas, stretch it, and paint front AND back He wants to over paint, squirting straight from the tube HE will garish the floor, garnish the peep glass ceiling, garland the unsquared n skw d n skju d walls.Nabokov hides brilliant stories pinned and mounted within stories Part III Reading Nabokov s great novels is like finding yourself alone in a beautiful park on a perfect day and suddenly your senses are overwhelmed by the smell, the touch, the dancing light, the flutterbytes and memory dumps of your past Memories ofPart IV It is like an emotional contrast flush Nabokov has intravenusly warmed you instantly, philosophically, from head to foot Part V Reading never gets better than Nabokov when the Master is on fire


  6. says:

    Suppose things had worked out better for Humbert Humbert Suppose he d gone to jail for a while but hadn t had a heart attack there, and suppose Lolita hadn t died while still a teenager, giving birth to a stillborn child Suppose instead that they d both survived, had various sordid adventures, and then miraculously reconnected twenty years later, at which point they suddenly realised that they had some something beautiful and unique together And suppose that Humbert actually wrote his memoirs Suppose things had worked out better for Humbert Humbert Suppose he d gone to jail for a while but hadn t had a heart attack there, and suppose Lolita hadn t died while still a teenager, giving birth to a stillborn child Suppose instead that they d both survived, had various sordid adventures, and then miraculously reconnected twenty years later, at which point they suddenly realised that they had some something beautiful and unique together And suppose that Humbert actually wrote his memoirs when he was a near senile old man, confusing his native country of France with his adopted country of the US and cheerfully twisting all the facts to present them in as rosy a light as possible, while Lolita edits his manuscript over his shoulder with a quirky, loving aside every now and then to her darling Humbie.You got all that Well, the result might be a little bit like Ada, an imaginative and disquieting novel even by Nabokov standards If you appreciated Lolita and thought, as I did, that it was essentially a very moral book, you might want to check it out And if Lolita left you feeling angry and indignant, then stay well clear You really won t like this one


  7. says:

    Remembrance, like Rembrandt, is dark but festive. If Nabokov is anything, he s clever Unfortunately for Nabokov, clever is as clever does is rarely good enough in my case, so that lack of fifth star is a team effort on both our parts Fortunately for Nabakov, so are the remaining four stars, making this review a pleased one despite all my grumbling.As stated in the summary, the book encompasses fairy tale, epic, thoughts on time, parody of novel, and erotica The first and second were of mediu Remembrance, like Rembrandt, is dark but festive. If Nabokov is anything, he s clever Unfortunately for Nabokov, clever is as clever does is rarely good enough in my case, so that lack of fifth star is a team effort on both our parts Fortunately for Nabakov, so are the remaining four stars, making this review a pleased one despite all my grumbling.As stated in the summary, the book encompasses fairy tale, epic, thoughts on time, parody of novel, and erotica The first and second were of medium intrigue and the fifth rapidly grew old due to the reader s personal preferences, leaving said reader to relish the pieces and parcels of the third and fourth that were registered to a pleasing extent In full, deliberate consciousness, at the moment of the hooded click, he bunched the recent past with the imminent future and thought to himself that this would remain an objective perception of the real present and that he must remember the flavor, the flash, the flesh of the present as he, indeed, remembered it a half dozen years later and now, in the second half of the next century. But here we run intomisfortune, for if you re going to parody names such as Mann and Proust, you have to measure up to the point of the reader preferring the imitation to the original For this reader, it was close, but no cigar As for the meditations on time, they dabbled and dipped and came up with some rather intricate insight, but for one whose reading history includes Borges, the meanderings ultimately paled in comparison.Alright, enough with the lackluster comparisons For amidst this multifarious reception of puzzle pieces we have the ever present Nabokov, crowd pleaser in the turn of phrase sense extraordinare Other reviews have gone on about the linguistic tricks, so I will leave that to farcapable and interested hands than mine For while I do like my well crafted sentences, indeed to the point of having maintained a collection for several years, I am not enad with deconstructing the whys and wherefores redundant but rhythmic which concerns us now does it not I caught the alliteration, but the rest of the classifications went over my head Those who are keener on that sort of thing than I, however, are in for a treat.In the end, I wasn t bowled over enough to ignore the predecessors of yore But I can assure you, the sum is farthan the incest of its partsIf I could write, mused Demon, I would describe, in too many words no doubt, how passionately, how incandescently, how incestuously c est le mot art and science meet in an insect, in a thrush, in a thistle of that ducal bosquet


  8. says:

    Maybe the only thing that hints at a sense of Time is rhythm not the recurrent beats of the rhythm but the gap between two such beats, the gray gap between black beats the Tender Interval First off, I should say this is my least favourite Nabokov novel It s an insanely clever novel and probably needs to be read at least twice to be fully appreciated, which is another way of saying it s hard work The first three chapters are virtually unreadable It felt like arriving at someone s door who Maybe the only thing that hints at a sense of Time is rhythm not the recurrent beats of the rhythm but the gap between two such beats, the gray gap between black beats the Tender Interval First off, I should say this is my least favourite Nabokov novel It s an insanely clever novel and probably needs to be read at least twice to be fully appreciated, which is another way of saying it s hard work The first three chapters are virtually unreadable It felt like arriving at someone s door who clearly has no intention of allowing you into his house or even exchanging pleasantries Ada is a novel that made me feel stupid as often as it thrilled me It s a kind of pun or parody festival and while I loved all the puns I got there were so many, often multilingual or literary jokes, that went over my head that at times I felt like I was watching University Challenge and horrible holes were being revealed in my intelligence, not a very flattering feeling Ada is presented playfully as the memoir of Dr Ivan Veen, psychologist, professor of philosophy and student of time, who chronicles his illicit life long love for his first cousin, later to be discovered sister, Ada Veen It takes place in a mostly imaginative though usually recognisable world Ada mischievously incorporates into its form just about every genre of literature fairy story, historical fiction, science fiction, erotica, alternative history, biography, autobiography, literary criticism, essays and it even ends with a tongue in cheek review of itself It also contains references to all Nabokov s other novels, making it a kind of uber novel As is always the case you often feel there s no other writer who revels in language with the same lithe exuberance as Nabokov There are long passages and lots of them when Nabokov reminds you what a master stylist he is and what a sheer pleasure it is to read him If I listed all my favourite quotes this review would be about ten pages long It s also a fabulous antidote to the dubious and often crass or pretentious nature of sex description in literature Nabokov never strikes an off note in his depiction of erotic pleasure and often he manages to be wildly funny to boot Perhaps Ada herself never quite comes alive except as male wish fulfilment In short, a novel I will return to when I m older and hopefully wiser


  9. says:

    I have trouble writing positive reviews It s precisely when I love a book that I most strongly feel how little justice my words can do to the experience of reading it, which is how I end up writing reviews like this.Nonetheless, Ada deserves a review I m not a very widely read person, and I rarely feel justified in saying that anything I ve read is not read often enough How would I know Maybe everyone else is just off reading other books that are even better But I really do believe that A I have trouble writing positive reviews It s precisely when I love a book that I most strongly feel how little justice my words can do to the experience of reading it, which is how I end up writing reviews like this.Nonetheless, Ada deserves a review I m not a very widely read person, and I rarely feel justified in saying that anything I ve read is not read often enough How would I know Maybe everyone else is just off reading other books that are even better But I really do believe that Ada has not yet found its readership A lot of Nabokov fans Martin Amis and John Updike among them consider it the moment when their hero went off the deep end General lit fans who warmed to Lolita as a conventional 20th century novel which, in many ways, it is are put off by Ada s weirdness And people who love weird, monstrous books for being weird and monstrous don t seem, by and large, to have discovered it yet.Ada is Nabokov s masterpiece Sure, it s messier than his other books, and Lolita is far superior as a straight character study But Ada is longer, richer,complex, and this is the important part lacking in the straightforwardness that harms his other books I know straightforwardness isn t a word that most people immediately associate with Nabokov, and certainly I don t mean that every facet of his other work is straightforward But he does tend to give away his gimmicks, if not the details surrounding them, very early on We learn that Humbert Humbert is both a brilliant writer and a pedophile on page 1 of Lolita Someone calls Charles Kinbote insane in Pale Fire s Introduction As well executed as these books are, that execution consists mostly in following through on a premise already understood by the reader, and as I result, it s easy to finish them in an odd superposition of wow and that was it He s the trickiest of writers in the details, but in the big picture, you always get what you were sold. Except in Ada, where it s not clear even in retrospect what the gimmick is It s the memoir of a fictional aristocrat named Ivan Van Veen He lives on an earth like planet called Antiterra, in which the United States is filled with Russian speakers, electricity is banned, and telephones are replaced by hydrodynamic devices called dorophones Or he lives on our earth and has invented Antiterra to escape from his real life as a metaphor for it He is writing his memoirs, as an old man, in collaboration with his long time lover Ada, who he met as a teenager, and who happens to be his sister Or he invented her and lives alone Or he didn t invent her, but invented the happily ever after conclusion to their romance Or they aren t really brother and sister He depicts his teenage love affair with Ada as idyllic, even Edenic But another name for Antiterra is Demonia, and Ada means of hell in Russian.Van s memoir is coming apart at the seams everywhere you look in the novel you find eerie inconsistencies, enigmatic remarks, passages that seem to protest too much, judgments of events different from those any sane reader would make Van is not crudely deluded about the facts the way some Nabokov characters are But there is clearly something very wrong with him, and the nature of that wrongness a nature always tantalizingly just out of reach haunts the reader throughout the course of the book Wherever I go in the world, I know that this book will be sitting in libraries sticking its tongue out at me It is the most consistently baffling novel I have ever read.Van is clearly meant to be a good writer, and he is, but in a very different way from, say, Humbert This is not the careful, refined, charming, slightly sterile Nabokov This is a Nabokov who knows he s getting old and has decided to go out with a bang The writing bursts with obscure words, bilingual and trilingual puns, untranslated French, anagrams, and much, muchReading it feels like peeling off the husk of the English language and lapping up the cream filling inside It is maximalist where so much of Nabokov is minimalist There are parts written in stage dialogue, in code, in the form of advertising blurbs There are references to, and parodies of, numerous works of art and literature There are long stretches that seem like what a 19th century novel would be if you put the sex back in There is so much pure linguistic literary entertainment there that the reader is drawn into Van s world despite their misgivings, only to be assaulted by the fundamental wrongness, in every sense, of Van s narrative It is extraordinarily fun to read, and yet it also feels as though it has come from the other side of the looking glass, and as though it may have been meant to stay there.Read Ada It s a difficult book, especially in the first 100 pages It is Nabokov 301 the advanced class and you will have to get used to the idea that the author expects you to know three languages, catch references to bad translation of Pushkin, and extract crucial plot points from exchanges like this in the very first chapterI deduce, said the boy, three main facts that not yet married Marina and her married sister hibernated in my lieu de naissancethat Marina had her own Dr Krolik, pour ainsi direand that the orchids came from Demon who preferred to stay by the sea, his dark blue great grandmother I can add, said the girl, that the petal belongs to the common Butterfly Orchis that my mother was even crazier than her sister and that the paper flower so cavalierly dismissed is a perfectly recognizable reproduction of an early spring sanicle that I saw in profusion on hills in coastal California last February Dr Krolik, our local naturalist, to whom you, Van, have referred, as Jane Austen might have phrased it, for the sake of rapid narrative information you recall Brown, don t you, Smith , has determined the example I brought back from Sacramento to Ardis, as the Bear Foot, B,E,A,R, my love, not my foot or yours, or the Stabian flower girl s an allusion, which your father, who, according to Blanche, is also mine, would understand like this American finger snap You will be grateful, she continued, embracing him, for my not mentioning its scientific name Incidentally the other foot the Pied de Lionfrom that poor little Christmas larch, is by the same hand possibly belonging to a very sick Chinese boy who came all the way from Barkley College Good for you, Pompeianella whom you saw scattering her flowers in one of Uncle Dan s picture books, but whom I admired last summer in a Naples museum Now don t you think we should resume our shorts and shirts and go down, and bury or burn this album at once, girl Right Right, answered Ada Destroy and forget But we stillhave an hour before teaThe plot point here, by the way, is that the characters are full siblings But the book can be enjoyed even where it is not comprehended And it is an enjoyable book a marvelous, disturbing, memorable, remarkable aberration of a book that is, as far as I can tell, like no other on this earth


  10. says:

    Stylistically and structurally, Ada is undoubtedly a masterpiece Isn t that the joy of reading Nabokov anyway, the joy of watching a master at work The seeming ease of his complicated prose, the assimilation of polyglot, portmonteau words, annagrammitic tricks, haute vocabulary, allusion, and labyrinthine sentences, is really a wonder The first 200 or so pages of this book are absolutely hypnotizing Ada is a parody of the modern novel, from Anna Karenina to Lolita, and its most obvious prece Stylistically and structurally, Ada is undoubtedly a masterpiece Isn t that the joy of reading Nabokov anyway, the joy of watching a master at work The seeming ease of his complicated prose, the assimilation of polyglot, portmonteau words, annagrammitic tricks, haute vocabulary, allusion, and labyrinthine sentences, is really a wonder The first 200 or so pages of this book are absolutely hypnotizing Ada is a parody of the modern novel, from Anna Karenina to Lolita, and its most obvious precedent is Joyce s Ulysses but it is informed by texts as old as the Arabian Nights Both Ulysses and Ada are episodic and epic, they both move in Aristotle s epic time as well as within the perceived time unfolding in each episode time is really the fourth main character of this book, along with Van and Lucette, time and memory are as everpresent as Ada s dark eyes , and they both deal with how perception is registered as it passes and becomes reflections and refractions within consciousness The structure of both novels reflect their subject matter in the case of Ada, the five chronological parts of the book are each about half the length of the part preceding, much like our perception of time speeding up as we age, until it coalesces into just a few lingering, single, momentary impressions It is a parody of romantic love stories, a parody of the erotic novel and there is much grand eros in this book, the incidents of the children s copulation reaching upwards of double digits in a single day , and a parody of Nabokov s literary career characters from his previous works appear or are reworked , and Ada herself is obviously based on his most famous nymphet, also the structure is something reminiscent of The Gift It is also a parody of scientific texts, texts that try to explain such capacious themes as time, memory, and perception definitively , in supposed, and unachievable, objective terms Van Veen s The Texture of Time may come off as a messy rant, but it does speak to the way that human beings naturally perceive the passing daysthan any scientific trope can hope to.One of theinteresting aspects of the book is the almost secondary way that it invokes science fiction You realize from very early on I had to read the first three chapters a number of times each to gain a reference point on this particular reality that this love story is unfolding on an alterior Earth, not Terra, but Anti Terra, not Gaia but Demonia Demonia is informed by our Earth or the inverse could be true , there are similar nationalities, similar histories and wars, similar languages, but the continents did not split at the same fissures, Russia and America are continentally connected anyone want to start invoking authorial biographical references at this point I do not and famous figures exist, but at anachronistic points, or with annagrammatically altered names Demonians read Joyce and Rimbaud in the 1860 s, the Crimean War is an ongoing world affair, and Russia and America never felt the cultural schisms of the twentieth century Yet our Earth does play a role, Terra is dreamed of by philosophers and madmen, equivalent to our concepts of Heaven or Nirvana Zealous religous and revolutionary groups are formed and technology is occasionally banned and destroyed in the name of this most likely fictional paradise, but all of this is background, all of this is canvas on which Van and Ada s lifelong story is painted But it does invoke the novel as a particular entity Like Anti Terra, a creative work is a world unto its own, informed and in some ways defined by our reality, but only inhabiting, and only true to, its own physical structure, its own content, its own and only reality Demonia is the world of literature Its heroes have literary precedents, its actions are taken from multiple ur texts, and in the end this is a novel about novels as much as it is about time or love or Vaniada.The problem is that while the prose is masterful, ecstatic, motley, and sardonic, the characters themselves are surprisingly monochromatic Ada almost feels like a virtuoso performance by Nabokov rather than a story invested by its characters I suppose it could just be a trait specific to Demonians that they are only motivated by intellectual obsessions and monstrous libidos, but it does matter, when a reader is asked to feel something like empathy with the lovers toward the end of the novel, that this reader could not really conjure any The novel is impressive in its conception and artfulness, but its emotional world is distancing It is a great labyrinth by a great constucter of labyrinths, but a rounded character is a rounded character, in this world or the next, and I was left wanting that

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