Laura, again

Saving Laura, Part 2; Or, Nabokov’s Walled Garden

A year before his death, Vladimir Nabokov responded to a Book Review survey which asked authors for comments on their three most enjoyed books of the year. The last book that he mentioned was his own, the controversial and never-published manuscript Laura. It seems as if the book will be published after all, a turn that has me torn between !!!! and regret. The scale has been tipped a bit towards !!!! by the last paragraph of the NYT blog linked to above, which quotes Nabokov’s comments on The Original of Laura:

“The third, as he wrote, is ‘The Original of Laura. The not quite finished manuscript of a novel which I had begun writing and reworking before my illness and which was completed in my mind: I must have gone through it some 50 times and in my diurnal delirium kept reading it aloud to a small dream audience in a walled garden. My audience consisted of peacocks, pigeons, my long dead parents, two cypresses, several young nurses crouching around, and a family doctor so old as to be almost invisible. Perhaps because of my stumblings and fits of coughing the story of my poor Laura had less success with my listeners than it will have, I hope, with intelligent reviewers when properly published.'”

Lovely, lovely Nabokov! I want that book despite myself.


~ by Not Alice on April 26, 2008.

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