My sister and I created this blog out of a mutual passion for our beloved Uncle Nabokov.
Keep reading. And thank you.
"My dear mother [Véra Nabokov] with the Bizzarrini Strada."
"In San Remo, with my parents [Véra and Vladimir Nabokov], aunt, and cousin."
"My mother with my first Ferrari 308."
More photos of Dmitri’s car collection can be viewed here.
And apparently we forgot to wish Vladimir Nabokov a Happy Birthday yesterday.
Eh…I’m guessing our dear Uncle would find Birthday wishes to be a form of excessive pedantry and would simply shrug his shoulders and get back to writing.
Still. It should be noted.
Happy Birthday Uncle. We love you. Thank you for being in our world.
V.V. & A.V.
Boil water in a saucepan (bubbles mean it is boiling!). Take two eggs (for one person) out of the refrigerator. Hold them under the hot tap water to make them ready for what awaits them.
Place each in a pan, one after the other, and let them slip soundlessly into the (boiling) water. Consult your wristwatch. Stand over them with a spoon preventing them (they are apt to roll) from knocking against the damned side of the pan.
If, however, an egg cracks in the water (now bubbling like mad) and starts to disgorge a cloud of white stuff like a medium in an old-fashioned seance, fish it out and throw it away. Take another and be more careful.
After 200 seconds have passed, or, say, 240 (taking interruptions into account), start scooping the eggs out. Place them, round end up, in two egg cups. With a small spoon tap-tap in a circle and hen pry open the lid of the shell. Have some salt and buttered bread (white) ready. Eat.
November 18, 1972
It feels rather appropriate to read this short Nabokov story on Easter Sunday. “Easter Rain” is a very short tale about an old Russian ex-pat woman, Josephine, who mourns for a Russia she once knew.
The kind of old woman who bothers her neighbours and stays too long for tea. Josephine falls ill with pneumonia. Feverish dreams and hallucinations haunt Josephine for six days and then she is reborn. We find her delighting in the beauty of a new day and no longer the bitter ageing widow that we were presented with just a few pages prior. She experiences the world as if a child, glorying in the wonder and splendour that surrounds her.
I’m not sure I fully appreciate this short story. I have a sense that Nabokov is attempting to confront his exile. But the story seems a mess. And the rebirth of this old woman doesn’t leave me feeling much.
There is some wonderful writing here. This is something Nabokov always excels at. But I think I was just a bit bored with the story. This seems more like a character sketch. That this was a short story that was “discovered” and thought to be “lost” at one point only further confirms in my mind that this was probably a draft of some kind and not fully fleshed out as a proper short story.
Sometimes Nabokov hits and sometimes he misses. For me anyway, this is a bit of a miss.
It’s a strange thing to discover and to believe that you are loved, when you know that there is nothing in you for anybody…
Although we read with our minds, the seat of artistic delight is between the shoulder blades. That little shiver behind is quite certainly the highest form of emotion that humanity has attained when evolving pure art and pure science. Let us worship the spine and its tingle.
Fool’s on you. Of course we’re still reading Nabokov.
V.V. & A.V.
ps- With no offence to Kafka. We love him too. Just not as much as our dear beloved Uncle.
We’re kind of getting a bit tired of all this Nabokov. Thinking we’ll switch over to Kafka instead.