Pale Fire ~ Vladimir Nabokov

  • Title: Pale Fire
  • Author: Vladimire Nabokov
  • Genre: Literature
  • Format: eBook
  • Source: Own Copy
  • Reviewer: Soo
  • Rating: 3 out of 5

Description:  In Pale Fire, Nabokov offers a cornucopia of deceptive pleasures: a 999-line poem by the reclusive genius John Shade; an adoring foreword and commentary by Shade’s self-styled Boswell, Dr. Charles Kinbote; a darkly comic novel of suspense, literary idolatry, one-upmanship, and political intrigue.

“This centaur work, half poem, half prose…is a creation of perfect beauty, symmetry, strangeness, originality and moral truth. Pretending to be a curio, it cannot disguise the fact that it is one of the great works of art of this century.” — Mary McCarthy

Review:  It is poetry? Insanity? A novel from start to finish? It’s more like a journal that takes place in snippets of time but you have to pay attention to figure out if the snippet is real, imagined or a mix of the two. The book is an interesting stream of consciousness of a quixotically, delusional man named Charles Kinbote aka several other figures within that you should figure out for yourself.

There are brilliant lines and phrases in the story that create vivid imagery and instant emotional resonance. I’m not sure if that’s enough to make up for the pompous, egotistical, hyper monologue that glues the book together as a whole. The main character was annoying, clingy, and stubborn as a bull with blinders on.

To appreciate the book, you have to read the whole thing. It wasn’t easy for me to read this story because I can’t stand the main character. However, I enjoyed the quirks that underline the story, and reading this novel has created new ideas for writing.

If you enjoy a good satire with a few twists, you will love this book.

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