By Vladimir Nabokov
I never really considered reading this book up until now. It was the fact that Sting referenced it in his famous song and I think that Sting is a less than valid arbiter of taste. You just need to look at what he has gone on to do since the Police with his progressive, turgid jazz-rock-aor fusions. I can see now that referencing Nabokov was an attempt to intellectualise and help popularise his insipid commercial post-punk. To reference another art form is quite fine but you have to look at how and why it is being done. This is certainly not Scott Walker referencing Bergman. Sting spells Nabokov’s name wrong and what particularly is ‘just like the old man in that book by Nabakov’? – That there was a young girl involved? I’m sorry, not good enough. Putting Sting to one side this is a fine book and part of the reason I am so annoyed is that if this book had not been bought for me (and it is a great edition by Weidenfeld and Nicolson) I would have assumed Sting’s mediocrity extends to the books he references and possibly never read it – so there is a lesson there. Because, this is an excellent book, so detailed and rich and well-written. The movie with Peter Sellers is good too but it is a different thing. I still can’t understand how a novel can be so funny, tragic and have such in depth psychological analysis all at the same time – but it does. Nabokov is a master of prose made all the more amazing by the fact Russian was his first language not English. Astounding. I will read his other novels now that I have exorcised the demons of assumptive implication. I won’t be stung twice.
Soundtrack: Scott Walker – The Seventh Seal