Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Defense

I have wanted to read this novel since I first heard of it, probably twenty years ago. I happened to find one at City Lights, and had to pick it up! It is a story of monomania (I now realize that all of Nabokov's work seems to be about monomania), in the form of a chessmaster who is unable to comprehend the world in any form other than the chessboard. The way he describes the social disconnection of Luzhin is so perfectly dead on -- I found it to be a truly wonderful book. It's funny, I'm reading Nabokov's autobiography now, and I keep tangling scenes from it, and scenes from The Defense... probably because they are pretty tangled.

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