February 19, 2005

Lifeless, dreamy disquiet

Book #11 of 2005

Mary, by Vladimir Nabokov

I do enjoy this wistful, ethereal european literature from the middle of the last century.

With merciless dark humour, Nabokov makes detailed character studies of a group of russian ex-pats, back in the days when they still had enough seedy glamour to be referred to as emigrées.

The central character chances to recall his first love, when he finds out that she is married to his neighbour. He dumps his girlfriend and plans to meet Mary at the station and steal away with her. But fate is cruel to his room-mates, and he manages to take control of his own.