Pale Fire

Pale Fire

Book - 1989
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An ingeniously constructed parody of detective fiction and learned commentary, Pale Fire offers a cornucopia of deceptive pleasures, at the center of which is a 999-line poem written by the literary genius John Shade just before his death. Surrounding the poem is a foreword and commentary by the demented scholar Charles Kinbote, who interweaves adoring literary analysis with the fantastical tale of an assassin from the land of Zembla in pursuit of a deposed king.
Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, 1989
Edition: First Vintage international edition
Copyright Date: ©1962
ISBN: 9780679723424
Branch Call Number: FICTION NABOK...V
Characteristics: 315 pages ; 21 cm
Notes: Includes index


From Library Staff

The structure and conceit of Nabokov's novel is already difficult enough without the presence of its demented narrator Charles Kinbote. As the reader works their way through the novel's elaborate structure an additional puzzle slowly comes to light. Who, exactly, is Charles Kinbote and what is hi... Read More »

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" And while the safety blade with scrape and screak /Travels across the country of my cheek, Cars on the highway pass, and up the steep / Incline big trucks around my jawbone creep,/ And now a silent liner docks, and now/ Sunglassers tour Beirut, and now I plough / Old Zembla's fields where my gray stubble grows,/ And slaves make hay between my mouth and nose." " ...before reaching the staging point, the false king managed to escape by climbing down one of the pylons that supported the traction cable... " Somewhere in the mist of the city there occurred every day disgusting outbursts of violence, arrests and executions, but the great city rolled on as smoothly as ever, the cafes were full, splendid plays were being performed at the Royal Theater, and it was really the palace whch contained the strongest concentrate of gloom." "The ladies in waiting had, of course, left long before, at the time the KIng exiled his Queen to her villa on the French Riviera. Thank heavens, she was spared those dreadful days in the polluted palace! "

Jun 25, 2017

There is no question that Nabokov is a true master at his craft. However, this book reads like an overly intellectual academic exercise exploring alternative forms of literature. If you squint hard enough you can find the threads of interesting story buried in these pages, but I was expecting so much more from this classic novel. The book begins with a 999 line poem written by a fictional poet named John Shade. The poem is followed by a lengthy commentary written by a fictional academic named Charles Kinbote who provides his own thoughts and literary analysis of the fictional poem. During the commentary, Charles Kinbote reveals that he has an unusual relationship with John Shade, and that he is much more than a simple academic scholar. But in the end, it's too annoyingly meta for my puny literary powers.

morrisonist Sep 12, 2015

this is a story about a man who wants to save his daughter from the harsh realities of life, and accidentally destroys her in the process

Dec 29, 2013

Nightmare to read. YOU will be turn pages back and forth all night long.


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