One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Monday, September 14, 2015

Nabokov's "King, Queen, Knave"

Certainly a nascent Nabokov. He's starting to flex his verbal muscles, but he's not there yet. Thus far the text doesn't jump out and grab me. (And of course it could all be ME.) Still, per usual, there are Vlad-is-tickling-me bits:


There were lots of well dusted but uncaressed porcelain animals with glossy rumps, as well as varicolored cushions, against which no human cheek had ever nestled; and albums -- huge arty things with photographs of Copenhagen porcelain and Hagenkopp furniture -- which were opened only by the dullest or shyest guest. Everything in the house, including the jars labelled sugar, cloves, chicory, on the shelves of the idyllic kitchen, had been chosen by Martha, to whom, seven years previously, her husband had presented on its green-turfed tray the freshly built little villa, still empty and ready to please. She had acquired paintings and distributed them throughout the rooms under the supervision of an artist who had been very much in fashion that season, and who believed that any picture was acceptable as long as it was ugly and meaningless, with thick blobs of paint, the messier and muddier the better. 

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