A black book in hardcover that opens with the line “Dying is Fun” printed in white ink with the ink fading with every letter and eventually terminating in complete darkness, with a thin red line marking the border of the cover. The original manuscript of Nabokov in his hand with his scribbled notes and deletions is endorsed on the top half of the right side pages of the book with the text of the manuscript printed in the lower half and the left side pages intentionally left blank or marked with a cross. The contours of the manuscript are perforated giving the reader the druther to remove the manuscript pages and rearrange them in the order that he gleans appropriate.
One glimpse at the book at Landmark and I knew I had to possess a copy of this book. Flipping through the pages of my copy and grazing my fingers over Nabokov’s handwriting, I felt one with Nabokov, peeping into the mind of this genius. The book is but a collection of snippets of a novel that displays potential of being a masterpiece on completion, but in its current form is merely a collection of disjointed and somewhat incoherent paragraphs. It would have been a brilliant metafiction, telling the story of a lover writing a novel on Flora (a disloyal wife of a rich fat man), the ultimate flattery of a woman. Alas Flora and the book will have the same fate of being incomplete forever!!
The novel also reintroduces Hubert Hubert as Flora’s mother’s tenant! Déjà vu!!
Anyhow, kudos to Dmitri and Penguin for my most valuable possession!!
- The 8 Best Nabokov Novels | Book Reviews by Massey (petergalenmassey.com)
- Nabokov’s fancy prose style (anglozine.wordpress.com)