23 May 2015

Turns out that Nabokov fellow can actually write

Who would've thought that the celebrated Russian-American author Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), whose Lolita was one of the great English novels of the 20th century, was actually quite a dab hand with a phrase? Everyone who has read him, that's who, and finally I have too. Here's one example, plucked from the mid-section of the book as the ill-starred pair drive the backroads of America:

At night, tall trucks studded with coloured lights, like dreadful giant Christmas trees, loomed in the darkness and thundered by the belated little sedan. And again next day a thinly populated sky, losing its blue to the heat, would melt overhead, and Lo would clamour for a drink, and her cheeks would hollow vigorously over the straw, and the car inside would be a furnace when we got in again, and the road shimmered ahead, with a remote car changing its shape mirage-like in the surface glare, and seeming to hang for a moment, old-fashionedly square and high, in the hot haze. And as we pushed westward, patches of what the garage-man called 'sage brush' appeared, and then the mysterious outlines of table-like hills, and then red bluffs ink-blotted with junipers, and then a mountain range, dun grading into blue, and blue into dream, and the desert would meet us with a steady gale, dust, gray thorn bushes, and hideous bits of tissue paper mimicking pale flowers among the prickles of wind-tortured withered stalks all along the highway; in the middle of which there sometimes stood simple cows, immobilised in a position (tail left, white eyelashes right) cutting across all human rules of traffic.
- Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita, 1955

See also:
Books: Frankenstein in the Alps, 3 March 2015
Books: Proust writes an action thriller, 3 January 2015
BooksMark Twain on knowing nothing about NZ, 31 July 2014
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