The Original of Laura: (Dying Is Fun) A Novel in Fragments (Penguin Modern Classics)

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9780141191157: The Original of Laura: (Dying Is Fun) A Novel in Fragments (Penguin Modern Classics)
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This legendary novel has been the source of much anxiety and contention for Nabokov's fans – and family. The late Vladimir Nabokov requested that this unfinished work be destroyed, but his son, Dmitri, did not oblige, although neither did he allow the work to be published – until now. The Original of Laura is about a wonderfully large man called Philip Wild, married to a very promiscuous woman, and whose meditations concern the nature of death. The novel was complete in Nabokov's mind, though he died before he could translate his vision on to paper. It is hard, however, to imagine any scholars, Nabokov enthusiasts or literature lovers being disappointed by even these fragments.

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Unusual book


There are forty sentences alone that make this volume worth having. (Ian McEwan 20091117)

This edition is a triumph of the book maker's art... The Original of Laura is magic right through, from the dust jacket, in sideways-fading white on black with just the merest flicks of gules, past the cloth cover that reproduces the last words of Nabokov the novelist, to the heavy gray pages divided between, on the top half, photographic reproductions of the 138 file cards, front and back, and, on the bottom half, the text in print, including misspellings, slips of the pen, blank spaces, all... the book is deeply interesting. (John Banville, Bookforum )

It’s like seeing an unfinished Michelangelo sculpture—one of those rough, half-formed giants straining to step out of its marble block. It’s even more powerful, to a different part of the brain, than the polish of a David or a Lolita. (New York magazine )

...“Laura” will beckon and beguile Nabokov fans, who will find many of the author’s perennial themes and obsessions percolating. (The New York Times )

...this tantalizing, fascinating, occasionally perplexing manuscript. Pity he didn’t get to finish it. Fortunate we get to see it at all. (The Christian Science Monitor )

What literary news could be more thrilling? (Robert McCrum, The Observer )

There are enough Nabokovian tantalize any devotee of the English language. (James Marcus, The Los Angeles Times )

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9780307472854: The Original of Laura

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Nabokov, Vladimir
Published by Penguin Books (2010)
ISBN 10: 0141191155 ISBN 13: 9780141191157
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
(PONTEFRACT, United Kingdom)

Book Description Penguin Books, 2010. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0141191155. Seller Inventory # 44 J - 310 - D

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Published by Penguin London (2010)
ISBN 10: 0141191155 ISBN 13: 9780141191157
New Hardcover First Edition Quantity Available: 1
(Lewes, East Sussex, United Kingdom)

Book Description Penguin London, 2010. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. SEALED PENGUIN CLASSICS EDITION.David Lodge wrote a brilliant review of this essential book. I would like to quote a section from it, and I hope David Lodge will not mind me doing so: "The way the manuscript has been ingeniously edited and reproduced overcomes to a large extent the disappointment and frustration inherent in reading an unfinished and disconnected narrative, and achieves an interesting aesthetic effect unintended by the author. If the manuscript had been printed in the conventional way we would have hurried through it vainly seeking some coherent plot or hint of its ultimate direction. As it is the book invites us to linger over the text's quiddity, relishing not just its stylistic feats but also the physical marks on the index cards, the poignantly shaky hand of an ailing author, his revisions and insertions and smudged rubbings out, and the tantalising space he left to be filled in later when he found the right word. 'The only way he could posse! ss her was in the most position of copulation'. Few readers will probably read the whole text continuously from the cards, but the matching printed text underneath also has a defamiliarising effect on the act of reading when, quite often, the last line does not extend to the margin. Page 7 for instance ends 'when they and their dog do not happen', and by habit one's brain tries to make sense of this as a complete clause before turning the page to find 'to need it.' This is an effect akin to a caesura in poetry, and indeed the structure of the work as a whole is more akin to modern poetry of the Eliot-Pound kind than a conventional novel, shifting from one voice to another without explanatory links. Towards the end these jump cuts become more abrupt, and there are more cards which bear just a few lines, sometimes evidently Nabokov's notes to himself. A line from The Waste Land, 'These fragments I have shored against my ruins', might have been a suitable epigraph for The Original of Laura, but the last lines of page 21 would make a better one: 'Only by identifying her with an unwritten, half-written, rewritten difficult book could one hope to render what'. Is it, as the blurb claims, Nabokov's 'final great book'? No. Does it contain brilliant, funny, astonishing sentences only Nabokov could have written? Yes. Should it have been preserved and published? Definitely." This new copy is still sealed. It is a heavy volume, and it is undoubtedly a typical Nabokov conundrum. To all addicts of this extraordinary writer this is utterly essential. Extra postage may be needed depending on destination. Language: eng Language: eng 0.0 Language: eng 0.0 Language: eng 0.0 Language: eng. Seller Inventory # ABE-2676800439

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