Written in Berlin in 1934, Invitation to a Beheading contains all the surprise, excitement and magical intensity of a work created in two brief weeks of sustained inspiration. It takes us into the fantastic prison-world of Cincinnatus, a man condemned to death and spending his last days in prison not quite knowing when the end will come. Nabokov described the book as 'a violin in a void. The worldling will deem it a trick. Old men will hurriedly turn from it to regional romances and the lives of public figures ...The evil-minded will perceive in little Emmie a sister of little Lolita ...But I know a few readers who will jump up, ruffling their hair'.
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Like Kafka's The Castle, Invitation to a Beheading embodies a vision of a bizarre and irrational world. In an unnamed dream country, the young man Cincinnatus C. is condemned to death by beheading for "gnostical turpitude." an imaginary crime that defies definition. Cincinnatus spends his last days in an absurd jail, where he is visited by chimerical jailers. an executioner who masquerades as a fellow prisoner, and by his in-laws. who lug their furniture with them into his cell. When Cincinnatus is led out to be executed. he simply wills his executioners out of existence: they disappear, along with the whole world they inhabit.From the Back Cover:
"Nabokov writes prose the only way it should be written, that is, ecstatically." -- John Updike
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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, 1990. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110140100407
Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, 1990. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 140100407