The Original of Laura: (dying Is Fun)

by Vladimir Nabokov

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group | March 12, 2013 | Hardcover

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When Vladimir Nabokov died in 1977, he left instructions for his heirs to burn the 138 handwritten index cards that made up the rough draft of his final and unfinished novel, The Original of Laura. But Nabokov's wife, Vera, could not bear to destroy her husband's last work, and when she died, the fate of the manuscript fell to her son. Dmitri Nabokov, now seventy-five-the Russian novelist's only surviving heir, and translator of many of his books-has wrestled for three decades with the decision of whether to honor his father's wish or preserve for posterity the last piece of writing of one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. His decision finally to allow publication of the fragmented narrative-dark yet playful, preoccupied with mortality-affords us one last experience of Nabokov's magnificent creativity, the quintessence of his unparalleled body of work.

Photos of the handwritten index cards accompany the text. They are perforated and can be removed and rearranged, as the author likely did when he was writing the novel.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 304 pages, 9.5 × 6.6 × 1.7 in

Published: March 12, 2013

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0307271897

ISBN - 13: 9780307271891

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– More About This Product –

The Original of Laura: (dying Is Fun)

by Vladimir Nabokov

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 304 pages, 9.5 × 6.6 × 1.7 in

Published: March 12, 2013

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0307271897

ISBN - 13: 9780307271891

About the Book

When Vladimir Nabokov died in 1977, he left instructions for his heirs to burn the 138 handwritten index cards that made up the rough draft of his final and unfinished novel, "The Original of Laura." But Nabokov's wife, Vera, could not bear to destroy her husband's last work, and when she died, the fate of the manuscript fell to her son. Dmitri Nabokov, now seventy-five--the Russian novelist's only surviving heir, and translator of many of his books--has wrestled for three decades with the decision of whether to honor his father's wish or preserve for posterity the last piece of writing of one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. His decision finally to allow publication of the fragmented narrative--dark yet playful, preoccupied with mortality--affords us one last experience of Nabokov's magnificent creativity, the quintessence of his unparalleled body of work.

Read from the Book

Excerpted from the introduction by Dmitri Nabokov     As a tepid spring settled on lakeside Switzerland in 1977, I was called from abroad to my father’s bedside in a Lausanne clinic. During recovery from what is considered a banal operation, he had apparently been infected with a hospital bacillus that severely lessened his resistance. Such obvious signals of deterioration as dramatically reduced sodium and potassium levels had been totally ignored. It was high time to intervene if he was to be kept alive.   Transfer to the Vaud Cantonal University Hospital was immediately arranged, and a long and harrowing search for the noisome germ began.   My father had fallen on a hillside in Davos while pursuing his beloved pastime of entomology, and had gotten stuck in an awkward position on the steep slope as cabin-carloads of tourists responded with guffaws, misinterpreting as a holiday prank the cries for help and waves of a butterfly net. Officialdom can be ruthless; he was subsequently reprimanded by the hotel staff for stumbling back into the lobby, supported by two bellhops, with his shorts in disarray.   There may have been no connection, but this incident in 1975 seemed to set off a period of illness, which never quite receded until those dreadful days in Lausanne. There were several tentative forays to his former life at the hôtel Palace in Montreux, the majestic recollection of which floats forth as I read, in some asinine electronic biog
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From the Publisher

When Vladimir Nabokov died in 1977, he left instructions for his heirs to burn the 138 handwritten index cards that made up the rough draft of his final and unfinished novel, The Original of Laura. But Nabokov's wife, Vera, could not bear to destroy her husband's last work, and when she died, the fate of the manuscript fell to her son. Dmitri Nabokov, now seventy-five-the Russian novelist's only surviving heir, and translator of many of his books-has wrestled for three decades with the decision of whether to honor his father's wish or preserve for posterity the last piece of writing of one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. His decision finally to allow publication of the fragmented narrative-dark yet playful, preoccupied with mortality-affords us one last experience of Nabokov's magnificent creativity, the quintessence of his unparalleled body of work.

Photos of the handwritten index cards accompany the text. They are perforated and can be removed and rearranged, as the author likely did when he was writing the novel.

From the Jacket

At last: Vladimir Nabokov's final and unfinished novel, in print-thirty years after his death, years in which the fate of The Original of Laura was in constant and closely watched question.

When Nabokov died in 1977, he left instructions for his heirs to burn the 138 handwritten index cards that made up the rough draft of The Original of Laura. But Nabokov's wife, Vera, couldn't bear to destroy her husband's last work, and when she died, the fate of the manuscript fell to her son. Dmitri Nabokov, now seventy-four- the Russian novelist's only surviving heir, and translator of many of his books-has struggled for decades with the decision of whether to honor his father's wish or preserve for posterity the last piece of writing of one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. His decision finally to allow publication will be passionately welcomed by both scholars and general readers. And the ingenious format of the book (which includes removable facsimiles of the index cards) will make an even more extraordinary occasion of this publishing event.

In its fragmented narrative-dark yet playful, preoccupied with mortality-we are given one last experience of a writer's unparalleled creativity, a glimpse of his last days, and a body of work finding its apotheosis.

About the Author

Vladimir Nabokov was born in 1899, in St. Petersburg, Russia. His acclaimed works of fiction include Lolita, Pnin, and Pale Fire, among others. He died in Montreux, Switzerland, in 1977.

Editorial Reviews

“In these pages readers will find bright flashes of Nabokovian wordplay and surreal, Magritte-like descriptions." — The New York Times                                  "Tantalizing, fascinating. . . . A generous gift to readers. . . . Filled with sly wit and memorable images." — The Christian Science Monitor   "A beautifully printed objet d''art in its own right, the book of previously unpublished writings offers a thrilling insight into the great writer''s creative process, 28 years after his death." — The Kansas City Star   "A unique chance to see the master out of control. . . . It''s like seeing an unfinished Michelangelo sculpture--one of those rough, half-formed giants straining to step out of its marble block. It''s even more powerful, to a different part of the brain, than the polish of a David or a Lolita." — New York magazine   "This is no ordinary manuscript. . . . The Original of Laura is an astonishingly accurate representation of a genius'' shards. But, my God, what shards these are. What devotee of Nabokov, much less mere reader, could possibly regret Dmitri Nabokov''s decision to give us this gift? . . . What we have is a novelistic genius''s fever dream—one of the great literary talents of his century aswirl with ideas and last thoughts." — The Buffal
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