The Gift is the last of the novels Nabokov wrote in his native language and the crowning achievement of that period in his literary career. It is also his ode to Russian literature, evoking the works of Pushkin, Gogol, and others in the course of its narrative: the story of Fyodor Godunov-Cherdyntsev, an impoverished émigré poet living in Berlin, who dreams of the book he will someday write - a book very much like The Gift itself.
One of the twentieth century's master prose stylists, Vladimir Nabokov was born in St. Petersburg in 1899. He studied French and Russian literature at Trinity College, Cambridge, then lived in Berlin and Paris, where he launched a brilliant literary career. In 1940 he moved to the United States, and achieved renown as a novelist, poet, critic, and translator. He taught literature at Wellesley, Stanford, Cornell, and Harvard. In 1961 he moved to Montreux, Switzerland, where he died in 1977.
©1963 Vladimir Nabokov (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
"Nabokov writes prose the only way it should be written, that is, ecstatically." (John Updike)
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"A complex and rich Künstlerroman"
A very Proust-inspired (memory, love, dreams, art) Nabokov. The last of his Russian novels, 'the Gift' is a complex and rich Künstlerroman and is one of those novels that makes me wish I spent more time in college studying Russian simply so I could catch the nuanced differences between the Chapters where Nabokov is mimicking Pushkin, Gogol, and other Russian novelists.
Nabokov always amazes me with his ability to provoke, entertain and awe his readers. There are some novelists where it is clear they are writing for a certain audience. Nabokov seems content just to write novels that entertain an audience of one (VN). If someone else gets his books, well, it is all just a sugary and mischievous bonus, but overall ... he'd prefer to be left alone to categorize and pin his rare butterflies and metric variations.
The narrator is boring and monotonous, but the story is mindbogglingly clever and the imagery is top notch.
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