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Vladimir Nabokov: The American Years

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Brian Boyd's second biography of Vladmimir Nabokov is a fascinating look into the life and work of one of most significant authors of the twentieth century.

Vladimir Nabokov: The American Years is far more than an orderly presentation of the life of a remarkable man. Part biography, part literary criticism, the text considers both the author and his work. By the end, the reader consequently not only feels as though he knows Nabokov's works, but the man whose mind created characters of such goodness as Pnin and of such twisted egotism as Humbert and presented their stories with some of the most brilliant and artistic turns of phrase created in modern English.

Boyd's own writing is delightful: well structured and a pleasure to read. The organization of the book itself is excellent. Like Nabokov's own Speak, Memory, The American Years is not a strictly chronological enumeration of events, but a tour through different themes and phases of the subject's life. Boyd's work contains the additional bonus of giving detailed and thoughtful review and commentary on Nabokov's oeurve. Following the author balance the demands of teaching, writing, and (especially earlier on) scientific research allows the reader to get a sense for the struggles through which Nabokov tread finally to produce a novel. At the completion of such a chapter, Boyd presents a thoughtful literary criticism of a major work before moving on to the next theme in the presentation of Nabokov's life.

Vladimir Nabokov: The American Years was a joy to read and having finished the job, I now feel that I know not only Nabokov better, but I understand his work better and have developed a deeper appreciation for it.

Created by cmcurtin
Last modified 2004-12-30 12:31 PM

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