Sunday, July 14, 2013

In Praise of Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov

Speak, Memory covers Vladimir Nabokov's colorful life from his exile from his beloved Russia as Lenin's revolution scoured the land to his love of netting butterflies, and, in a poetic and absorbing way, he brings the past back to life (especially when he recalls his mentors and servants) as he traces his line from 1903 until his immigration to America in 1940.

I realized, yesterday morning, upon finishing Speak that I didn't have the chops (there you go) to review this extraordinary biography with the dexterity necessary to get you, dear friend, to buy it yourself. So, not so much of a review here as an indirect recommendation from my nephew through me with my enthusiastic endorsement to you. A clip from the opening paragraph:

"The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness."

Agree or disagree, either way, see how beautifully the words dance? The whole memoir moves at that cadence. Mr. Nabokov was a self-described synesthete, and I'm sure seeing the world through his unique prism only adds to the beauty of this biography.

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

A brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness. Hum, now there's some light morning reading. :)