Speak, Memory

Speak, Memory MOBI ´ Hardcover
  • Hardcover
  • 316
  • Speak, Memory
  • Vladimir Nabokov
  • English
  • 04 June 2017
  • 0141197188

About the Author: Vladimir Nabokov

Speak, Memory MOBI ´ Hardcover speak, ebok, memory book, Speak, MemorySpeak, Memory MOBIRussianVladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov, also known by the pen name Vladimir Sirin, was a Russian American novelist Nabokov wrote his first nine novels in Russian, then rose to international prominence as a master English prose stylist He also made significant contributions to lepidoptery, and had a big interest in chess problemsNabokov s Lolita is frequently cited as his most important novel, and is at any rate his most widely known one, exhibiting the love of intricate wordplay and descriptive detail that characterized all his worksLolita was ranked fourth in the list of the Modern Library Best Novels Pale Fire was ranked rd on the same list, and his memoir, Speak, Memory , was listed eighth on the publisher s list of the th century s greatest nonfiction He was also a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction seven times.


Speak, MemorySpeak, Memory MOBI ´ Hardcover speak, ebok, memory book, Speak, MemorySpeak, Memory MOBINabokov s autobioraphical memoir of a loving, civilized family, of adolescent awakenings, flight from Bolshevik terror, education in England, and migr life in Paris and Berlin The Nabokovs were eccentric, liberal aristocrats, who lived a life immersed in politics and literature on splendid country estates until their world was swept away by the Russian revolution when the author was eighteen years old Speak, Memory was first published inas Conclusive Evidence and then assiduously revised and republished inunder the title Speak Memory, An Autobiography Revisited.

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10 thoughts on “Speak, Memory

  1. Buck says:

    Vladimir Nabokov was the Niles Crane of 20th century literature snooty, fastidious, and comically inept at being a normal guy And it s part of his fastidiousness that he would have despised my handy, pop culture analogy Even his ailments had something snobbish about them I mean, synesthesia Who has that And what kind of douche decides that sleep is too plebeian Would it have been so hard to come down with herpes and depression like everyone else Needless to say, Speak, Memory is one of Vladimir Nabokov was the Niles Crane of 20th century literature snooty, fastidious, and comically inept at being a normal guy And it s part of his fastidiousness that he would have despised my handy, pop culture analogy Even his ailments had something snobbish about them I mean, synesthesia Who has that And what kind of douche decides that sleep is too plebeian Would it have been so hard to come down with herpes and depression like everyone else Needless to say, Speak, Memory is one of the most brilliant autobiographies ever written, and I m just delaying the moment when I throw my panties on the stage along with every other reviewer here But first I need to make fun of Nabokov a bitSix pages into his foreword, he tosses off this gag inducing little metaphor I hope to write some day a Speak on, Memory, covering the years 1940 1960 spent in America the evaporation of certain volatiles and the melting of certain metals are still going on in my coils and crucibles.That s a fairly standard trope, I guess the artist as alchemist What irritates me about it is the self complacency it implies this is the uptown equivalent of hanging a Genius at Work sign on your cubicle wall It s tacky, not to mention unbearably precious Also, wasn t alchemy discredited centuries ago as a bogus pseudo science In one sense, though, the metaphor is well chosen, because Nabokov really did view art as some kind of occult jiggery pokery I discovered in nature the non utilitarian delights that I sought in art Both were a form of magic, both were a game of intricate enchantment and deception.I dunno It s not that I expect every artist to justify the ways of God to man, or forge the conscience of his race in the smithy of his soul blech , or help me free my mind so that my ass may follow, but that strikes me as a depressingly sterile notion of art Games, magic, deception it all sounds like an elaborate Easter egg hunt Or a Dungeons Dragons marathon Either way, it s something I grew out of a long time ago And if you point out that Nabokov wrote Lolita, whereas I ve written a bunch of book reports for a stupid website, I won t have much of a comeback for you Except shut up.I clearly have huge problems with some of the assumptions behind Speak, Memory, but the book itself is just so damn beautiful that I can t stay mad at it for long People talk about Nabokov s style as if it were some glittering, rococo gush, but his elaborations are never merely ornamental they re in the service of an almost preposterous precision He wants to get it exactly right, and if that means ransacking the OED and piling up his clauses into syntactical Jenga towers well, you ll just have to sit there and take it Or go play Wii The fact is, the world is so immeasurably complex, and our perceptions are so deliriously rich that even the most exhaustive representation of one tiny patch of reality can only be a gross simplification a thing of sticks and squiggles, daubed by a gifted chimpanzee Nabokov s prose is a bit less of a simplification than anyone else s, that s all Meaning, he comes as close to honouring the riotous profusion of experience as any human being is likely to get.There I told you the panties would come off

  2. Jim Fonseca says:

    After reading a bit about how excellent and unusual this book is as an autobiography, I was surprised to find ittraditional than I expected still excellent, but traditional It covers the first half of Nabokov s life 1899 1977 until 1940, when at age 41 he moved the United States Many of the chapters were published as short stories or memoirs in American magazines such as The New Yorker and the Atlantic The chapter about his nanny was published as Mademoiselle O in the Atlantic i After reading a bit about how excellent and unusual this book is as an autobiography, I was surprised to find ittraditional than I expected still excellent, but traditional It covers the first half of Nabokov s life 1899 1977 until 1940, when at age 41 he moved the United States Many of the chapters were published as short stories or memoirs in American magazines such as The New Yorker and the Atlantic The chapter about his nanny was published as Mademoiselle O in the Atlantic in 1943 Another chapter is about his father and there is one about his uncle His uncle left him a valuable Russian estate but when it was nationalized by the Russian government, as was his family home in St Petersburg, Nabokov lost his inheritance except for some hidden jewels that his family smuggled out of the country Did his mansion in St Petersburg really have 50 servants There are chapters about puppy love a girl he roller skated and ice skated with and then aserious love and his first sexual experience when he was 17 and she was 16 Nabokov talks about having synesthesia through colored hearing in associating colors with vowel sounds.Nabokov had a younger brother who was killed in a concentration camp This was not because he was Jewish, although the family had some minor, distant Jewish ancestry, but because his brother held a minor government position and spoke out against some German bureaucratic policy He was then accused of being a spy In one chapter and in several other places he talks about his love perhaps obsession with butterfly collecting He went far beyond amateur collecting by writing articles in scientific journals describing new species, having his specimens displayed in museum collections, and even having some species named after him He also was a chess fanatic, even creating chess puzzles.There is a very traditional chapter about his distant ancestors that can be skimmed mostly educators, government and military officials There are chapters about his first attempts at writing poetry to please his mother and about his time at Cambridge He writes about how, when he uses a real life person as a model for someone he wrote about, he loses that person in his memory to the story All in all a good story and a good autobiography although it does not give us a lot of insight into Nabokov s writing since many of his most famous works were published after this book ends 1940 such as Lolita 1955 and Pale Fire 1962 Photo of the Nabokov family home is St Petersburg from wikimedia.org wikipedia commonsPhoto of the author from s3.aws.com media.wbur.org wordp

  3. Fionnuala says:

    Nabokov is a joker If I hadn t known that already, I d have learned it when I reached the end of Speak, Memory.I d begun my review of the book when I was about half way through reading it, something I often do, preferring to jot down thoughts and impressions as I read in case I ve forgotten the significance of this or that point by the time I ve reached the end Very soon I have a couple of readymade paragraphs and only need to tidy them up here and there, add a suitable opening and closing lin Nabokov is a joker If I hadn t known that already, I d have learned it when I reached the end of Speak, Memory.I d begun my review of the book when I was about half way through reading it, something I often do, preferring to jot down thoughts and impressions as I read in case I ve forgotten the significance of this or that point by the time I ve reached the end Very soon I have a couple of readymade paragraphs and only need to tidy them up here and there, add a suitable opening and closing line, and voil the review has written itself.So, imagine my surprise yesterday when I got to the end of Speak, Memory and glanced at the Appendix What have we here, I wondered for about half a minute I soon figured out that the Appendix is a review of Speak, Memory, supposedly written by someone other than Nabokov, and many of the points this other person makes, in a slightly boring and pedestrian voice compared to the eloquence of the rest of the book, are points I d already noted in my provisional review and in some of the other Nabokov reviews I ve written in the last couple of weeks Whoosh All the wind has gone from my sails and an unsettled feeling of having been set up is creeping in And then today I read this line in The Gift which I ve just begun one hears the flippantly flat little voice of the reviewer perhaps even of the female sexI look around to see if the ghost of Nabokov isn t sniggering at me from a Novemberdim corner of the room, saying, This one s for Kinbote The result of all these coincidences is that I no longer feel like commenting on the carefully chosen themes of this memoir, or pointing out the nice balance between the personal and the general, the planned and the accidental, in the teasing out of these memories Nor do I want to talk about the many interesting references to poetry and parks, chess and fate, art and nature, which fill the pages of Speak, Memory I had a section on the various heteronyms Nabokov uses throughout his work but that too is now obsolete, as are the thoughts about his brother Sergey, and the strong and unsettling resemblance between Sergey and the nameless narrator of The Real Life of Sebastian Knight No, there s no need for any of that as it s all been analysed in the Appendix, and in a farerudite and pompous manner than I could ever manage Nabokov has checkmated me nicely But I ll get my own back soon.edit 25th November On page 196 of The Gift, a character accuses the narrator, Godunov who resembles Nabokovthan a little , of beinga joker Let me tell you, my lad, you re quite a joker

  4. ☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~ ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣ says:

    I never knew this guy had synesthesiaQ 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 c Q Nature expects a full grown man to accept the two black voids, fore and aft, as stolidly as he accepts the extraordinary visions in between Imagination, the supreme delight of the immortal and the immature, should be limited In order to enjoy life, we should not enjoy it too much c Q AS FAR back as I rem I never knew this guy had synesthesiaQ 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 c Q Nature expects a full grown man to accept the two black voids, fore and aft, as stolidly as he accepts the extraordinary visions in between Imagination, the supreme delight of the immortal and the immature, should be limited In order to enjoy life, we should not enjoy it too much c Q AS FAR back as I remember myself with interest, with amusement, seldom with admiration or disgust , I have been subject to mild hallucinations Some are aural, others are optical, and by none have I profited much The fatidic accents that restrained Socrates or egged on Joaneta Darc have degenerated with me to the level of something one happens to hear between lifting and clapping down the receiver of a busy party line telephone Just before falling asleep, I often become aware of a kind of one sided conversation going on in an adjacent section of my mind, quite independently from the actual trend of my thoughts It is a neutral, detached, anonymous voice, which I catch saying words of no importance to me whatever an English or a Russian sentence, not even addressed to me, and so trivial that I hardly dare give samples, lest the flatness I wish to convey be marred by a molehill of sense This silly phenomenon seems to be the auditory counterpart of certain praedormitary visions, which I also know well What I mean is not the bright mental image as, for instance, the face of a beloved parent long dead conjured up by a wing stroke of the will that is one of the bravest movements a human spirit can make Nor am I alluding to the so called muscae volitantes shadows cast upon the retinal rods by motes in the vitreous humor, which are seen as transparent threads drifting across the visual field Perhaps nearer to the hypnagogic mirages I am thinking of is the colored spot, the stab of an afterimage, with which the lamp one has just turned off wounds the palpebral night At times, however, my photisms take on a rather soothing flou quality, and then I see projected, as it were, upon the inside of the eyelid gray figures walking between beehives, or small black parrots gradually vanishing among mountain snows, or a mauve remoteness melting beyond moving masts c Q On top of all this I present a fine case of colored hearing Perhaps hearing is not quite accurate, since the color sensation seems to be produced by the very act of my orally forming a given letter while I imagine its outline The long a of the English alphabet and it is this alphabet I have in mind farther on unless otherwise stated has for me the tint of weathered wood, but a French a evokes polished ebony This black group also includes hard g vulcanized rubber and r a sooty rag being ripped Oatmeal n, noodle limp l, and the ivory backed hand mirror of o take care of the whites I am puzzled by my French on which I see as the brimming tension surface of alcohol in a small glass Passing on to the blue group, there is steely x, thundercloud z, and huckleberry k Since a subtle interaction exists between sound and shape, I see q as browner than k, while s is not the light blue of c, but a curious mixture of azure and mother of pearl Adjacent tints do not merge, and diphthongs do not have special colors of their own, unless represented by a single character in some other language thus the fluffy gray, three stemmed Russian letter that stands for sh, a letter as old as the rushes of the Nile, influences its English representation.I hasten to complete my list before I am interrupted In the green group, there are alder leaf f, the unripe apple of p, and pistachio t Dull green, combined somehow with violet, is the best I can do for w The yellows comprise various e s and i s, creamy d, bright golden y, and u, whose alphabetical value I can express only by brassy with an olive sheen In the brown group, there are the rich rubbery tone of soft g, paler j, and the drab shoelace of h Finally, among the reds, b has the tone called burnt sienna by painters, m is a fold of pink flannel, and today I have at last perfectly matched v with Rose Quartz in Maerz and Paul s Dictionary of Color The word for rainbow, a primary, but decidedly muddy, rainbow, is in my private language the hardly pronounceable kzspygv The first author to discuss audition color e was, as far as I know, an albino physician in 1812, in Erlangen.The confessions of a synesthete must sound tedious and pretentious to those who are protected from such leakings and drafts bysolid walls than mine are To my mother, though, this all seemed quite normal The matter came up, one day in my seventh year, as I was using a heap of old alphabet blocks to build a tower I casually remarked to her that their colors were all wrong We discovered then that some of her letters had the same tint as mine and that, besides, she was optically affected by musical notes These evoked no chromatisms in me whatsoever Music, I regret to say, affects me merely as an arbitrary succession ofor less irritating sounds c Q One day, after a long illness, as I lay in bed still very weak, I found myself basking in an unusual euphoria of lightness and repose I knew my mother had gone to buy me the daily present that made those convalescences so delightful c Q

  5. TBV says:

    My old since 1917 quarrel with the Soviet dictatorship is wholly unrelated to any question of property My contempt for the migr who hates the Reds because they stole his money and land is complete The nostalgia I have been cherishing all these years is a hypertrophied sense of lost childhood, not sorrow for lost banknotes And that is what this collage of memories is all about It is not a conventional autobiography It doesn t present a chronological account of Nabokov s life, nor doMy old since 1917 quarrel with the Soviet dictatorship is wholly unrelated to any question of property My contempt for the migr who hates the Reds because they stole his money and land is complete The nostalgia I have been cherishing all these years is a hypertrophied sense of lost childhood, not sorrow for lost banknotes And that is what this collage of memories is all about It is not a conventional autobiography It doesn t present a chronological account of Nabokov s life, nor does it analyse his literary works In fact there is hardly anything about his novels in this work However, there are many memories of a lost childhood.Typically something he sees triggers a memory, and that in turn may lead to other memories He states that music doesn t appeal to him muchMusic, I regret to say, affects me merely as an arbitrary succession ofor less irritating sounds , but what he lacks aurally hethan makes up for visually and he is gifted with synesthesiaMy mother did everything to encourage the general sensitiveness I had to visual stimulationShe taught him to appreciate the beauty of nature Vot zapomninow remember , she would say in conspiratorial tones as she drew my attention to this or that loved thing in Vyra a lark ascending the curds and whey sky of a dull spring day, heat lightning taking pictures of a distant line of trees in the night, the palette of maple leaves on brown sand, a small bird s cuneate footprints on new snow Thus, in a way, I inherited an exquisite simulacrum the beauty of intangible property, unreal estate and this proved a splendid training for the endurance of later lossesNostalgically he tells of mushroom gathering, a popular Russian pastime and he remembers the sight and smellsIts shady recesses would then harbor that special boletic reek which makes a Russian s nostrils dilate a dark, dank, satisfying blend of damp moss, rich earth, rotting leaves Nabokov provides an excellent snapshot of how the Russian aristocracy lived at the start of the twentieth century He casually mentions that there were 50 servants on their country estate He speaks with much fondness of some nannies and tutors of whom he had many and with contempt of others There was the joy of learning to readI was thrilled by the thought that some day I might attain such proficiency The magic has endured, and whenever a grammar book comes my way, I instantly turn to the last page to enjoy a forbidden glimpse of the laborious student s future, of that promised land where, at last, words are meant to mean what they meanNabokov remembersThe sepia gloom of an arctic afternoon in midwinter invaded the rooms and was deepening to an oppressive black A bronze angle, a surface of glass or polished mahogany here and there in the darkness, reflected the odds and ends of light from the street, where the globes of tall street lamps along its middle line were already diffusing their lunar glow Gauzy shadows moved on the ceiling In the stillness, the dry sound of a chrysanthemum petal falling upon the marble of a table made one s nerves twang Nabokov, an enthusiastic lepidopterist, talks about butterflies a lot and enthusiastically He remembers his first romance and his first attempt at writing poetry He also discusses time spent composing chess problems There are memories of his brothers, and of his university years in England at Cambridge He is amazed at theastonishing drivel when Russia was being discussedby otherwise intelligent fellow students He tells us about his father who was assassinated in Berlin He writes about exile and being an migr.And.I have often noticed that after I had bestowed on the characters of my novels some treasured item of my past, it would pine away in the artificial world where I had so abruptly placed it Although it lingered on in my mind, its personal warmth, its retrospective appeal had gone and, presently, it becameclosely identified with my novel than with my former self, where it had seemed to be so safe from the intrusion of the artist I confess I do not believe in time I like to fold my magic carpet, after use, in such a way as to superimpose one part of the pattern upon another I witness with pleasure the supreme achievement of memory, which is the masterly use it makes of innate harmonies when gathering to its fold the suspended and wandering tonalities of the past Very lovely, very lonesome But what am I doing in this stereoscopic dreamland How did I get here Somehow, the two sleighs have slipped away, leaving behind a passportless spy standing on the blue white road in his New England snowboots and stormcoat The vibration in my ears is no longer their receding bells, but only my old blood singing All is still, spellbound, enthralled by the moon, fancy s rear vision mirror The snow is real, though, and as I bend to it and scoop up a handful, sixty years crumble to glittering frost dust between my fingersNabokov initially used the pseudonym Sirin and he wittily references himself here view spoilerBut the author that interested me most was naturally Sirin He belonged to my generation Among the young writers produced in exile he was the loneliest and most arrogant one Beginning with the appearance of his first novel in 1925 and throughout the next fifteen years, until he vanished as strangely as he had come, his work kept provoking an acute and rather morbid interest on the part of critics Just as Marxist publicists of the eighties in old Russia would have denounced his lack of concern with the economic structure of society, so the mystagogues of migr letters deplored his lack of religious insight and of moral preoccupation Everything about him was bound to offend Russian conventions and especially that Russian sense of decorum which, for example, an American offends so dangerously today, when in the presence of Soviet military men of distinction he happens to lounge with both hands in his trouser pockets Conversely, Sirin s admirers made much, perhaps too much, of his unusual style, brilliant precision, functional imagery and that sort of thing Russian readers who had been raised on the sturdy straightforwardness of Russian realism and had called the bluff of decadent cheats, were impressed by the mirror like angles of his clear but weirdly misleading sentences and by the fact that the real life of his books flowed in his figures of speech, which one critic has compared to windows giving upon a contiguous world a rolling corollary, the shadow of a train of thought Across the dark sky of exile, Sirin passed, to use a simile of aconservative nature, like a meteor, and disappeared, leaving nothing much else behind him than a vague sense of uneasinesshide spoiler I loved this book Nabokov wrote this memoir in English and later translated it into Russian The writing is exquisite and his English is admirable My vocabulary is richer for having read this lovely memoir A large number of extracts here, but Nabokov says iteloquently than I ever can

  6. Sue says:

    Finis There are parts of this memoir that I absolutely loved and there are parts, mostly later in the memoir and in Nabokov s life, that I founddifficult to embrace as a reader The Everyman s Library Edition I read also has an excellent introduction by Brian Boyd which offers great insights into the book, especially for a reader like me who has no background in Nabokov To outline the task he had set before him, Nabokov writes in his Foreward This re Englishing of a Russian re version of Finis There are parts of this memoir that I absolutely loved and there are parts, mostly later in the memoir and in Nabokov s life, that I founddifficult to embrace as a reader The Everyman s Library Edition I read also has an excellent introduction by Brian Boyd which offers great insights into the book, especially for a reader like me who has no background in Nabokov To outline the task he had set before him, Nabokov writes in his Foreward This re Englishing of a Russian re version of what hadbeen an English re telling of Russian memories in the first place, proved to be a diabolical task, but some consolation was given me by the thought that such multiplemetamorphosis, familiar to butterflies, had not been triedby any human before p 6 This mention of butterflies is but an early allusion to what will be a life long hobby pursued in Russia and every county Nabokov lived in exile Nabokov is a man between worlds, of a patrician background lost in the Russian Revolution, but he does not appear to live with regret Instead he clings to the memories of the Russia he has loved, the Russia he knew as a much loved child, and provides wonderful descriptions of the sights and people of that world In one descriptive passage of the arrival of a new tutor coming to the estate by sleigh in the winter, Nabokov s worlds collide Very lovely, very lonesome but what am I doing in this dreamland How did I get here Somehow the two sleighs haveslipped away leaving behind a passportless spy standing onthe blue white road in his New England snowboots and stormcoat.The vibration in my ears is no longer their receding bells,but only my old blood singing All is still, spellbound,enthralled by the moon, fancy s rear vision mirror The snow isreal, though, and as I bend to it and scoop up a handful,sixty years crumble to glittering frost dust between my fingers pp 73 74 There are many delightful sections in this overall wonderful memoir At times it can become obscure and pedantic Nabokov s language is not that of most authors I read but the emotional content is accessible In the chapter dealing with his burgeoning fascination with butterflies, he states I found the nonutilitarian delights that I sought in art Both were a form of magic, both were a game of intricate enchantment and deception p 95Among my favorite chapters are those dealing with the multiple tutors mentor governesses he and his closest brother had in Russia, the chapter about his mother, that chapter that describes his discovery of poetry, and the descriptions of his teenage loves He gives little away here but there is a sense of loss.Some of the later chapters I found rougher going as VN travels in Europe and settles into a course of life Perhaps the emotional level was not the same The emotion rushes back with the birth of his son Dimitri All in all I enjoyed this memoir while recognizing I was in the presence of someone who does not think as I do, who creates and writes on a different plane with a use of English even as a second language that is farextensive than mine With that caveat, I recommend it to others who enjoy reading memoirs.This is a strong 4 possibly a 5 but for a few chapters I found less compelling

  7. Mariel says:

    I have often noticed that after I had bestowed on the characters of my novels some treasured item of my past, it would pine away in the artificial world where I had so abruptly placed it Although it lingered on in my mind, its personal warmth, its retrospective appeal had gone and, presently, it becameclosely identified with my novel than with my former self, where it had seemed to be so safe from the intrusion of the artist.Please disregard the three stars above There is no dark lined s I have often noticed that after I had bestowed on the characters of my novels some treasured item of my past, it would pine away in the artificial world where I had so abruptly placed it Although it lingered on in my mind, its personal warmth, its retrospective appeal had gone and, presently, it becameclosely identified with my novel than with my former self, where it had seemed to be so safe from the intrusion of the artist.Please disregard the three stars above There is no dark lined silvery cloud rating system in my unguarded border between love and hate If you read quotes from Speak, Memory you will know that it has words of sublimity, knowing truth about beauty and art.Here is one that I have loved for years But then, in a sense, all poetry is positional to try to express one s position in regard to the universe embraced by consciousness, is an immemorial urge The arms of consciousness reach out and grope, and the longer they are the better Tentacles, not wings, are Apollo s natural members.I have thought about that quote often the first part is often left off I can t understand why I know what he is talking about I would think that I can t relate to this man who must ve sprung from his mother s loving womb into a world opened to other worlds that could be imprinted on the insides of eyelids like the too perfect to be anything but miraculous mimicry of his camouflaged moths to flame This was a perfect realization from Nabokov that I don t think I would have done on my own The smallest detail birthed just right on those wings I wonder how many beats per second they need to sustain, if their flight manages to beat the necessity and work It couldn t have been only for survival I will think of his beautiful prose like those moths that were making themselvesthan what they merely had to be survive I love that he saw them that way I don t know how many reviews of his works I ve read over the years that were almost too jealous to be admiring that he could write as he does in his second language The truth is that he had three first languages English wasn t my first language Mine was a made up secret twin language that I didn t give up until I was three I hate language because I have to give it up to have new words His are worlds at once, with portals If asked to explain the most basic English grammar like what is a noun or an adjective I could sweat like those times I panicked and couldn t remember my own ATM code or phone number I admire and envy his visual ecstasy, where he wills to go I love it, really He did, however, hate music In the most extreme emotional times he could tolerate the violin my reason for living and he hated the piano I could never make myself into what I feel for music the way that Nabokov does his pleasures in his words It is his own language I know what he is talking about, though He is looking too I can t go where he went but he wanted to go somewhere else too.So there were times when I absolutely hated reading this book I squirmed in my seat as if I were the victim of multiple courses of Green Eggs and Ham Reading in all of my favorite reading places of my car, bed and empty bathtub I would feel at once desperate to be done already and dog earing pages to my memory as if his beautiful words could be butterflies pinned to delicate pages My private Mariel time was intruded upon with some of the most boring times I have had all year and that is saying something A friend of mine on goodreads, Kristen, and myself have a longstanding argument discussion about my criteria for what a memoir should be I ve consistently not explained myself very well My twin also took me as expecting the person to take themselves with absolute truth, no attempts to make themselves look good, etc, denying understanding of how hard it would be to live with yourself if you gave up the constant wing beating I want a portal into their lives I want to be allowed entry, to pass between their shoulders and have room for me, Mariel, where I would never be allowed anywhere else I want to learn the same rhythms That world must contain the others in their lives, the look extending beyond corner of their eyes I could ideally step out without them and look at others.A lot of Speak, Memory is about servants in the Nabokov family I liked his mother s former nurse who they give keys to a different food larder so that they won t starve to death and her feelings won t be hurt Did she ever think about being born a slave I liked that he tried to save Mademoiselle from his own use of her in his fictional work by writing about his memories of her in this book It is interesting that he felt he lost his own memories once they were given to fiction But I couldn t get past this feeling of them as servants Maybe the fiction isgenerous because it would give of yourself to the image of them in your mind Who were they when they went home Maybe they thought that young Vladimir was a nancy boy lolling about on a Turkish sofa to read War and Peace at the age of eleven I was reading The Silence of the Lambs when I was eleven I couldn t help but think about the governess who was sent away for seemingly no reason my guess is that she had the young master help her search for the missing glove while he was consoled with hot chocolate and drawings I was reminded of reading Natasha s Dance a very good book about the cultural history of Russia I read earlier this year Umm, reconciling Tolstoy s noble peasants with how much their lives must have truly sucked so hard, yeah There came a point when I was bored to tears reading about how many thousands of servants coughs slaves coughs each nobleman had to their name Not again I love reading about the very Russian practice of hunting for mushrooms in the forest I wanted very much to go on one of those hunts with Nabokov s beloved mum I don t know, I was bothered by it all because it is so one sided I loved that he felt guilty about ditching his friend who biked all the way to their home because his recently bankrupted family couldn t afford the train fare to hunt for his butterflies in secret But it s all about him and it is dull to force my brain edges into a one sided affair.The butterflies I kind of get it and Well, he was killing them to collect them in those books I find it curious that he didn t once mention any conflicting feelings about this aspect of his obsession He does about his own memory and using it in writing, but not about the lives of these creatures.I had also read about this a long time before I read this book that he waits a long time to leave Nazi Germany even though his wife was Jewish I guess this is why Kristen had suggested reading this memoir to prepare for Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter I might get pissed about proclamations of Sartre love and ignoring realities of abusing teenaged girls she had a position of power over, yeah I don t want to sound judgmental because that is not how I feel in my heart I have pets Some of my pets are birds It is something that I stab my mind with out of the dark at any time I think if they could talk my dogs wouldn t tell the judge that they want to live with me instead of running wild tell that to the dog catcher, guys Speaking of dogs Something the Nabokov family and my family have in common is the recurrence of dachshunds I think they had twelve My memory could be lying about this Anyway, it was a lot Mine had eight altogether I can imagine how it felt to find the longed for rare butterfly to add to his collection He might have missed that longing and replaced it with another quest My life needs something to long for and think about to slow down time and make it faster I know that Nabokov was like that But my mind goes But and the passion can be cruel I wonder too much about what I killed to feed the fumbled love I invented for myself What do they kill, in these memoirs But what if they didn t want to be in a book What if these people in his life didn t want to be in position to Vladimir Nabokov I guess they could write their own memoirs, if they didn t die under Leninism I can t help but wonder why he wrote about this one tutor that much It became like picking on someone behind their back He writes in his fiction and in Speak, Memory about the expatriates who miss their Scrooge McDuck luxuries to swim in Nabokov misses his childhood And I know I m being a jerk and kind of deliberately missing the point because I can t sidestep that trapped sick boredom feeling I used to get so often in my own childhood He was the center of the world in his childhood He didn t have to think about his father s foot stabbing political sympathies for revolutionaries His mother got his synesthesia because she had it too although hers was for musical notes while he saw words in colors I liked how he had only placed one of the rose pink colors to its living counterpart days before writing about it in his memoir I loved how he could still feel the handle of his son s pram But what about the girls who would smiles appeared only as he was approaching and departing I want to know how he looked to them My memoir criteria may be impossible I want to be let in and I don t want to have to make it for myself A moment later my first poem began What touched it off I think I know Without any wind blowing, the sheer weight of a raindrop, shining in parasitic luxury on a cordate leaf, caused its tip to dip, and what looked like a globule of quicksilver performed a sudden glissando down the center vein, and then, having shed its bright load, the relieved leaf unbent Tip, leap, dip, relief the instant it all took to happen seemed to me not so much a fraction of time as a fissure in it, a missed heartbeat, which was refunded at once by a patter of rhymes I say patter intentionally, for when a gust of wind did come, the trees would briskly start to drip all together in as crude an imitation of the recent downpour as the stanza I was already muttering resembled the shock of wonder I had experienced when for a moment heart and leaf had been one.Nabokov s poetry was my favorite part of Speak, Memory How to write poetry is to be able to notice all kinds of things that are happening all at once, all at once Janet Frame s beginnings as a poet was also my favorite about her memoir To the Is Land I love to know how others reach out I want to reach out too I want to be let inthan anything I feel if I could be let in then maybe I could reach something that has always been denied me Like when you try to remember something and you can t

  8. Alex says:

    This is, in my opinion, Nabokov s best work The autobiography as a form suits Nabokov perfectly, as his novels are never so much about plot or big ideas, just the intense poetic possibilities of language itself So be forewarned, there is almost no useful information here You may learn a thing or two about pre Revolution Russia, a scrap of detail about his encounters with Joyce in Paris, or some tidbits about butterfly hunting, but really there s nothing to be learned, no story, no clues to This is, in my opinion, Nabokov s best work The autobiography as a form suits Nabokov perfectly, as his novels are never so much about plot or big ideas, just the intense poetic possibilities of language itself So be forewarned, there is almost no useful information here You may learn a thing or two about pre Revolution Russia, a scrap of detail about his encounters with Joyce in Paris, or some tidbits about butterfly hunting, but really there s nothing to be learned, no story, no clues to why he wrote Lolita or whatever What you get is the greatest prose artist of the 20th Century at his finest Nabokov takes the mildly interesting raw material of his own life and transforms it into luminous art

  9. FotisK says:

    , ,,,, ,,, ,, ,Nabokov, , , , Nabokov ,

  10. مروان البلوشي says:

    I confess I do not believe in time I like to fold my magic carpet, after use, in such a way as to superimpose one part of the pattern upon another Let visitors trip And the highes I confess I do not believe in time I like to fold my magic carpet, after use, in such a way as to superimpose one part of the pattern upon another Let visitors trip And the highest enjoyment of timelessness in a landscape selected at random is when I stand among rare butterflies and their food plants This is ecstasy, and behind the ecstasy is something else, which is hard to explain It is like a momentary vacuum into which rushes all that I love A sense of oneness with sun and stone A thrill of gratitude to whom it may concern to the contrapuntal genius of human fate or to tender ghosts humoring a lucky mortal 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