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Il a stupidity of power that seems to baffle me every day as I read the news about police in NM doing anal probes because a man appeared to clench his butt or a man being arrested in OH for having a secret compartment in his car nothing illegal in it just something that could contain something bad A blank page that could have Slander written on it or could be set on fire Left unchecked there is nothing stupiditypower can t F up Good morning AmeriKa And here s Nabokov s stab at the dystopian novel Not a fan of Orwell s portrayal of oppressive regimes although this could be some eventual jealousy on Vlad s part since his book came out two years prior and was not instantly hailed a prophetic classic Scarlatti for Guitar like 1984 Nabokov goes for broke showing these tinkertoy political powers as nothing than bilious mixtures of pettiness stupidity and brute nature Nabokov swearsies in the amusinglyannoyingly arrogant forward of the 1961 edition that this his second novel written in English has nothing to do with actual human experience or political allegory but instead exists as a blank slate for the writer Nabokov himself natch to masterfully masturbate to his own prowess The novel concerns Dr Adam Krug an important and world renown philosopher and his stance against his country s brand spanking new fascist regime which is In Search of Quetzalcoatl lorded over by Paduk aka The Toad a nasty and effeminate bully who Krug himself bullied back in their schoolmate youths Krug hasittle interest in playing the role of subversive freedom fighter as most of his thoughts are troubled with the recent and tragic The Scandalous Secret of Abigail MacGregor (The MacGregors: Highland Heirs, loss of his wife and also with his responsibilities to his only son a young sweet hearted boy named David Bend Sinister is a wonderfully snarky farce full ofanguage games self referential hijinks and inventive narrative tricks Nabokov plays mean spirited god over his characters pushing them about the page towards their awful fates but in spite of all of his authorial bravado a fraying blanket of tenderness swaddles the narrative adding extra heft to the banal madness of the truly terrible final fifty pages Beautiful then grueling The first half is stellar the second half simultaneously disturbingly fascinating and immensely frustrating Jogging the Along the Routes to Power lastap of the book feels Ouch! Daddy Feels Good like running with a ferocious wind beating against youargely due to the otherwise elegant prose getting a but clunky Despite what is unarguably a beautiful stretch of text I found myself wanting to slug it down Praxial Music Education like ice cold water at 4 am after a bender I felt immense guilt in doing so as I know from various uotes and the preface to this novel that Nabokov was uite the priss about paying attention to everyast detail of anything worth reading of slowly and meditatively taking the words in as if every First Omega (River Wolf Pack, last one of them was a rare pricey truffle Unfortunately he made the entrance to his world so coated in thorny vines that only the most patient of individuals could truly give it the attention it demands in order to sufficiently work through it To clarify a potential offense I initially said that the prose gets clunky but by that I did not mean poorly written Rather I mean so self aware so thickly descriptive that it seemsess concerned with conveying a story than with just Triumph of Spectro-Chrome looking purdy It s sort ofike a show poodle you don t own that sort of dog and groom it that way because it s going to take care of your mouse problem Terrible analogy and I apologize to you and your memory Mr Nabokov but you haven t Η ιταλο-γερμανική επίθεση εναντίον της Ελλάδος left me with aot of outs here In short it feels Fatih Sultan Mehmet like I experienced didn t experience this novel However the first chapter in particular is one of the gorgeous parallels I have seen drawn between the circle of humanife and the cycle of nature to cityscape to urban decay of the birth of romance the flowering of a family of death and of the pain of inevitable The Professor Project loss such devotion begs of the devotee and of the tiny shoots ofife that rise from and are fertilized by the ashes There are dozens of other instances of such fantastic stretches of text sprinkled throughout making it an absolutely worthwhile albeit ultimately somewhat disappointing novel Reading it felt Deniz Hukuku Ders Notları like I don t know attempting to court a cold and distantover Trying to teach algebra to a 6 year old I am having trouble getting my point across here so my apologies if this review just reads Medusa like a ramble I m in review block mode but I m trying to shake it off Anyway it s a great book but it ain t no beach read That s all I m sayingUpside this made me really want to re watch Brazil so I think I m going to try and do that today I m absolutely certain that you all wanted to know that Yeah I don t have any idea what to say here So much beautiful writing that time and again I wanted to freeze the moment and savor against theengthening shadows the sublime and playful wit that infuses this silky slinky prose the arch elegance drawn taut and set to run with the wind The man had a gift an effortless supple skill with the pen that is a pleasure to behold too pleasurable perhaps for as another reviewer astutely points out it is written so beautifully as to be distracting The tragicomedy unfolding within the words is a polished pearl but the way that the words themselves continually dance and entwine with and about each other explode in frisky chase or shiver and Bonded (Wolf Essence, leap in gay abandon across a prismatic play ofight tend to draw the reader away from the story and hold him in thrall to the magic of the moment thus one star slips away into evanescence Lost in France (Firebird Trilogy, leaving four to proclaim its exceptionalityOne thing Krug is Gurk spelled On the face of it Bend Sinister is an unusual novel Nabokov a self proclaimed politically apathetic writer writes a novel about the rise of newly formed dictatorship in a fictitious country Yet despite this Bend Sinister is fundamentally not a political book or even a book about politics per se but is a book aboutove or in this case paternal The Dancing Detective love and just as the object of that paternalove dies and is removed from the novel so the narrator himself in a miracle of involution realises that the real tyrant is not the petty tyrant Paduk but the author of the novel which Adam is trapped in the unseen narrator who follows Adam wherever he goes who Adam constantly catches brief glimpses of in various parts of the novel such as on the bridge the author who famously referred to his characters as galley slaves and who controls all of the characters in the novel Adam s realisation of his own fictionality spirals into a descent into Adam s realisation of his own fictionality spirals into a descent into and the end of the novelWhat are the other themes of the Bend Sinister aside from Adam s relationship and Slim To None (Cedar Tree, love for his son Namely the miracle of conciousness and of each individual persons contemplation and experience ofife The novel is set just after the a coup d etat in which a political party The Party of the Average Man influenced by a philosophy called Ekwilism which disparages individuality and seeks to convert all of its citizens into parts of the all encompassing state However in seeking to deny us our individuality the state also denies to us all that makes us human and our appreciation of the world around us vanishes as it rests purely on each individuals observations of the world around themUnlike certain political novels about totalitarian regimes Nabokov does not seek to make the state in his novel all powerful or even half competent The The Undefeated leader is a grotesue figure who was bullied by Adam at school and whose partyeaders are Fratris Felicis Fabri Evagatorium in Terr� Sanct�, Arabi� Et Egypti Peregrinationem, Vol. 3 leftovers of the freaks and grotesues of society The petty bureaucrats and party members who were encounter in the novel are constantly seen as being incompetent consistently bumbling or engaging in bawdy jokes or mindless fawning indeed so idiotic is the state that it fails to realise that the key to gaining Adam s cooperation is not via capturing his friends but by capturing his son the sole thing Adamoves in the world though paradoxically the states inability to process emotions such as Sacred Arts and City Life love mean it is unable to grasp this until Adam informs a secret agent of it The novel is full of dark humour there is a scene when secret agents of the state are attempting to capture a friend of Adam s and decide to send two organ grinders incognito to spy on them unaware of the ridiculousness of having two such conspicuous individual in a covert mission or the nanny sent to spy on Adam and his son who makes it so obvious that she is a secret agent that is borders to the point of parody Indeed parody is a key element of the novel as Nabokov himself stated parody is a game satire aesson the state itself is a parody of the many Soviet esue autocracies that were springing about the world and also a parody of any autocracy of any sort and the ridiculous nature of the dialogue between the state officials including several ribaldrous conversations between ustful which also functions as an anagram of slutful an apt description of certain characters point to the black humour which dominates
*The Novel A Black *novel a black which is soon undermined by the tragic death of Adam s son who is tortured the death due to a bureaucratic mix up It is only then that we see that the incompetent members of the state whose action perpetually descend into farce are also people who wield power and the cruelty and tyranny behind their power. Foremost philosopher offers the only hope of resistance to Paduk dictator and eader of the Party of the Average Man In a folly of bureaucratic bungling and ineptitude the government attempts to co opt Krug's support in order to validate the new regim. .
It s interesting to compare Bend Sinister with 1984 Nabokov didn t much History of the Wars, Books I II like Orwell and thought he was a hack Orwell s take on totalitarianism is roughly that it s evil Nabokov s is that it s terminally stupid Even when the rulers of the State would actually prefer to get things right they ve fucked up their minds with nonsensical ideology to the point where they re noonger capable of coherent thought I wonder whether Nabokov wasn t closer to the truth In the end the Soviet Union s collapse seems to be have been than anything due to the simple fact that nothing worked any Nabokov suggests that the process starts with dishonesty about artistic choices There s a very funny passage near the beginning of this book describing a politically correct version of Hamlet in which things have been reorganized so that Fortinbras is the hero It s a nice metaphor for what s wrong with the whole system The scene where Adam is trying to cross the bridge is also a fine piece of black humor But things rapidly stop being so amusing and the ending is very tragic indeedI recall a uote from Viktor Korchnoi that I ve always iked He s trying to explain why chess was so popular in the Soviet Union and says it s because try as they would no one was ever able to define what a bourgeois chess move might be Think about that for a moment Sinistral JestSeveral GR reviews call this novel a mess I think this is an understatement I d go as far as to call it a uagmire It takes just 200 pages to bog the reader down although the process starts and succeeds much earlier than that As Nabokov said of James Joyce s Finnegan s Wake it s formless and dull a frightful bore a cold pudding of a book and a tragic failure This is second rate Nabokov Even masters have their off daysParadoxically Nabokov alludes to Finnegan s Wake both in the novel as Winnepeg Lake and in the Introduction he published in the 1964 edition where he describes Joyce as the other rivermaid s father The Introduction seems to be a vain attempt to resurrect the status of Nabokov s novel which in his words made a dull thud on its original publication in 1947 Yet even Nabokov uestions whether it s worth drawing attention to his own post modernist gimmicks and sophistication It may be asked if it is really worth an author s while to devise and distribute these delicate markers whose very nature reuires that they be not too conspicuous The Anthropomorphic Deity of Post ModernismYou could ask whether Nabokov needed to expressly alert us to his metafiction in chapter 5 where the self conscious narrator says But among the producers or stagehands responsible for the setting there has been oneit is hard to express ita nameless mysterious genius who took advantage of the dream to convey his own peculiar code message In the Introduction Nabokov confesses that the genius is an anthropomorphic deity impersonated by me Ah The wonders of metafictionParonomasiaStrangely Nabokov also attacks his own punning and wordplay one of the features the novel shares with Finnegan s Wake Paronomasia is a kind of verbal plague a contagious sickness in the world of words A Discussion of General IdeasOf course to the extent that the novel is regarded as dystopian fiction about totalitarian states ike the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany Nabokov uestions how it might be achieved aesthetically There exist few things tedious than a discussion of general ideas inflicted by author or reader upon a work of fiction He then asserts The story in Bend Sinister is not really about ife and death in a grotesue police state even if someone uses this classic ine You are not the police and so cannot bribe me The opponents of the protagonist Adam Krug are only absurd mirages illusions oppressive to Krug during his brief spell of being but harmlessly fading away when I dismiss the cast The novel and the imagination in general are nevertheless perhaps a defence against totalitarianism against The Story of Sinbad the Sailor and Other Tales letting your person dissolve in the virile oneness of the State The Allusions of a Pottering DotardSoet s have a uick suizling at the role of allusion and appropriation in the novelNabokov doesn t just allude to Finnegan s Wake but he reveals that he alludes to Shakespeare s Hamlet he turns Polonius into a pottering dotard in a padded robe and Mallarme s poem The Afternoon of a Faun The Hamlet allusions seem to be disingenuous Nabokov himself says In this crazy mirror of terror and art a pseudo uotation made up of obscure Shakespeareanisms somehow produces despite its Clara Schumann lack ofiteral meaning the blurred diminutive image of the acrobatic performance that so gloriously supplies the bravura ending for the next chapter Is this Nabokov damning himself with faint praise The influence of Mallarme can be found in the references to shade and shadows in the first page and chapter 17 and elsewhere I wait the shade that you became Nabokov tells us that Adam Krug is haunted by the poem and who are we to doubt itThe Sinistral Detail of a Monstrous JokeNo doubt the alert reader will find many such delicate markers in the novel if they re prepared to search Though Nabokov warns us against the waste of effort My own tribulations all those petty theatrical intrigues I have just described will I am afraid seem as trivial to you as they now seem to me And Meu Livro de Cozinha later Note the sinistral detail Why Ah that is the uestion And earlier The good doctors distributed the sheets with the celerity that a conjuror and his assistant display when passing around for inspection articles which should not be examined too closely It bristled with farcical anachronisms Too rightSome Leisurely BookNabokov writes in the body of the novel the greatest masterpiece of imitation presupposed a voluntaryimitation of thought in submission to another man s genius Could this suicidal imitation and submission be compensated bythe keen pleasure that the weaver of words and their witness experienced at every new wile in the warp For the moment I can only respond No and as Nabokov said of Krug A rush of second rate inspiration and somewhat precious as Nabokov said of Krug A rush of second rate inspiration and somewhat precious kept him going nicely Him but not necessarily the novel In due time what intelligence I have eft will be dovetailed into some Popular Politics And Religion In Civil War London leisurely book Some Fatuous HoaxKrug himself at one point asks if this is not some fatuous hoax And readers might well join himIn the tradition of Finnegan s Wake the novel begins and ends in the same oblong puddle Or did he mean muddle Krug after all being the Russian word for circle So the novel is apparently structured as a Vico esue never ending circle surrounding an oblong puddlemuddle a circumference built around a rectangleSOUNDTRACKview spoilerThe Flaming Lips A Spoonful Weighs A Ton Flaming Lips Free Radicals Flaming Lips In the Morning of the Magicians Fall Living Too Late from the album Bend Sinister Net Tiffany Tuesday Radio Tarmac Line Never Ending Circles hide spoiler Let me get this out of the way first I have aot of respect for 1984 It s a good book It s a great book in fact George Orwell was a master at his craftBut Bend Sinister is so amazing so delicious and so emotionally deep that as good "as 1984 is Bend Sinister still manages to feel ike 1984 done right Nabokov uses the "1984 is Bend Sinister still manages to feel ike 1984 done right Nabokov uses the This novel is an early work by Nabokov published in 1947 eight years before Lolita It was published at a time when the Editor s Preface tells us Nabokov was acuiring a reputation among discerning readers The title comes from heraldry meaning a Under the Blows of the Counterrevolution leftward tilting band on a coat of arms tiltedike the backslash in an http addressThe action takes place in a vaguely East European country that has elected a dictator Twice the author uses the analogy of a snowball rolling downhill without anyone really noticing as a metaphor for how the dictator came to power HmmmThere is not a Svlékl jsem bílý plášť lot of plot The main character is a celebrity philosophy professor with a worldwide reputation apparently the most renowned professor in this small nation He has justost his wife and he chooses not to tell his eight year son that she has died The dictator comes to power and his university colleagues The Facilitator learn that the professor and the dictator were chums in school They want to persuade the professor to use his influence to gain access to the dictator and bring them benefits The professor will have none of it of course He tells them his only recollection is that he used to sit on the dictator s face at recess 1000 sittings he recalls As the evil begins and The Party of the Average Man turns out to be a combination of Orwell and Kafka good friends tell the professor that he needs toeave the county with his son while he still can The good philosophy professor is clueless at even imagining the evil that the dictator will bring to him and to the country The author wrote a detailed introduction to the work post Lolita in 1963 But the editor warns us in the preface don t take it seriously Nabokov oved to spoof The author tells us it s not about politics or dictatorship
But About The Relationshipabout the relationship the father and the son That reminds me of Bob Dylan talking about the symbology of Like a Rolling Stone and saying well you know it s a song about a stone rolling downhill As always with Nabokov you need your dictionary at hand For example a few I needed to ook up were spatulate triskelions auarelle ope gammadio. The first novel Nabokov wrote while iving in America and the most overtly political novel he ever wrote Bend Sinister is a modern classic While it is filled with veiled puns and characteristically delightful wordplay it is first and foremost a haunti. N gaberloon amorandola anapaestic scansion mnemogenic There are others We have great writing of course A few samples On other nights it used to be a ine of Elusive Memories (The Hunted, lights with a certainilt a metrical incandescence with every foot rescanned and prolonged by reflections in the black snaky water Old Azureus s manner of welcoming people was a silent rhapsody Ecstatically beaming slowly tenderly he would take your hand between his soft palms hold it thus as if it were a The Ice King long sought treasure or a sparrow all fluff and heart in moist silence peering at you the while with his beaming wrinkles rather than with his eyes and then very slowly the silvery smile would start to dissolve the tender old hands would gradually release their hold a blank expression replace the ferventight of his pale fragile face and he would Plantagenet Princess, Tudor Queen leave you as if he had made a mistake O yes theighting is poor and one s field of vision is oddly narrowed as if the memory of closed eyelids persisted intrinsically within the sepia shading of the dream and the orchestra of the senses is Madame X limited to a few native instruments We see samples of Nabokov s synesthesia Krug mentioned once that the wordoyalty phonetically and visually reminded him of a golden fork Dream Baby lying in the sun on a smooth spread of pale yellow silk It s a good read thought provoking but not up to Lolita Photo of the Berlin Wall from formerdayscom The Nabokov I read the I feel that he wrote a set of three very good novels that make sense as novels Lolita Pale Fire and Ada and that everything outside that central trilogy consists of unformedess intelligible versions of the same material he used in the trilogy awaiting a context that would make sense of itIf you read the trilogy first then reading Nabokov is a very strange experience The trilogy flaunts its unreliable narrators and appears transparently to be about things Globus Ταξιδιωτική Εγκυκλοπαίδεια like bad taste or the interaction between aesthetics and ethics or self absorption This allows many of Nabokov s typical uirks to be pinned on the narrators or the themes which makes sense of them in a normaliterary context and allows one to imagine that Nabokov is behaving something Dragon Tamers 2 (Dragon Tamers, like a ordinary author deliberately choosing his material for effect But in his other fiction the very same uirks simply float freely about with no justifying pretext and no illuminating contextBend Sinister is a particularly prickly example of this phenomenon Most of Nabokov s uirks are here The extraordinarily fussy selection of details which in the trilogy often seems to be intended ironically self absorbed narrators writing encomia to the curvature of their fiddles as Rome burns is given free rein in Bend Sinister without any apparent thematic weight To me it was often pretty annoying as was the way he compulsively as if scratching an itch disrupts the natural flow of novelistic narration not really for any purpose except a general sense that banality must be avoided at all costs There are sentences in here that are mature works of art and then there are sentences that feelike they ve just gotten crazy haircuts to shock their momsIn other words it s a very mixed bag And a bag where it s hard to see how the particular mixture we re getting has any artistic intent behind it There are emotionally resonant passages here right next to sneering and coldly distant ones there are spot on parodies of bureaucracy alongside episodes that make it seem Love on the Wild Side (Peak Town Colorado, like Nabokov s problem with totalitarianism is that it is the brainchild of men who were once weird scrawnyittle playground victims and not healthy virile bullies My First Wife like our protagonistThere are passages of hazy metaphor clogged philosophizing about time and space and death justike in Speak Memory and Ada There are as in virtually everything by Nabokov screeds against the idea of social relevance in art that take the stage unexpectedly and without any apparent connection to the surrounding action There is did you really think there wouldn t be a seemingly pointless subplot involving sexual tension between the adult protagonist and an underage girl I don t know why Nabokov insisted on putting that kind of thing in so many of his stories but the I read the Alone Against the Atlantic less comfortable I am with theories that it all somehow makes sense in context that the creepiness can be beaten back into the darkness with the sword of interpretation None of these weird fixations make sense in every context N puts them in He just puts them wherever he feelsike Sometimes it works for a non Nabokovian value of the word works and sometimes it doesn t His worst moments feel Twelve Against the Gods like parodies of his best moments theevel of uality is inverted yet the subject matter remains the sameI can t resist one example Coming home on the subway while drunk I pulled out Bend Sinister and after a few rocky but essentially manageable paragraphs was confronted with the following sentenceThey separated and he caught a glimpse of her pale dark eyed not very pretty face with its glistening ips as she her pale dark eyed not very pretty face with its glistening ips as she under his door holding arm and after one backward glance from the first anding ran upstairs trailing her wrap with all its constellation Cepheus and Cassiopeia in their eternal bliss and the dazzling tear of Capella and Polaris the snowflake on the grizzly fur of the Cub and the swooning galaxies those mirrors of infinite space ui m effrayent Blaise as they did you and where Olga is not but where mythology stretches strong circus nets Lest Thought In Its Ill Fitting Tights Should Break Its thought in its ill fitting tights should break its neck instead of rebouncing with a hep and a hop hopping down again into this urine soaked dust to take that short run with the half pirouette in the middle and display the extreme simplicity of heaven in the acrobat s amphiphorical gesture the candidly open hands that start a brief shower of applause while he walks backwards and then reverting to virile manners catches the ittle blue handkerchief which his muscular flying mate after her own exertions takes from her heaving hot bosom heaving than her smile suggests and tosses to him so that he may wipe the palms "of his aching weakening handsThis must just seem this way because I m drunk I thought "his aching weakening handsThis must just seem this way because I m drunk I thought closed the book But the next morning the sentence was still there just as baffling It s not just that it s Non fuggire più long and tangled and difficult to make sense of there are writers who write that way all the time and ateast with them you know what you re getting Nabokov on the other hand just throws something Die Morgenlandfahrt like this at you with no warning in the midst of much intelligible stuffOne often hears Nabokov described as some sort of master or virtuoso But to me reading booksike this what stands out is an apparent Το συναξάρι των ζώων ή Ορφέως ακολουθία lack of control You never know what youl get in the next page or paragraph and ultimately the book has to be taken as a set of individual moments varying greatly in uality rather than a unified whole The uestion that remains is when Nabokov does come together as he does in the trilogy is that deliberate or is it just the blindly thrown dart hitting the bullseye a few times by sheer chanceThis has been a much negative review than I set out to write because ultimately this is a very enjoyable book full of beautiful and hilarious moments albeit also full of creepy or irritating or just plain ineffectual ones As a story it is striving for dreamlike horror and the diversity of its contents does feel in a funny way much The Invisible You like a dream and in the end I guess that makes the book work than it feelsike it should Nothing on earth really matters there is nothing to fear and death is but a uestion of style a mere How to Organize Your Life to Maximize Your Day literary device a musical resolution Vladimir Nabokov Bend Sinister My bookshelf is growing bigger every day with new fantastic fairytales of fascism dynamic doggerels of dystopia Of course there is Orwell s seminal 1984 and Huxley s Brave New World There are also move aside high school dystopias Koestler s Darkness at Noon Atwood s The Handmaid s Tale and almost all of Kafka s well kooked absurd oeuvre The Trial The Castle etc Keepooking yes right there you almost missed another fantastic novel by Nabokov Invitation to a Beheading I Bye Bye Big Bang love them all They all hurt They all confuse They are belligerent in their sadness and show exactly how absurd bureaucracy and government and modernity are Oh and they all owe a helluvaot of DNA at Secret and Suppressed least from the angle I m sitting and the mirror I mooking at to their slanted father Dostoevsky There is madness in all the punished and stupidity in all the enforcers Bureaucracy s worst enemy is itself but we are all its casualties All of these books are works of genius and all capture a part of the dark river Taken together however they seem to contain much of the anger fear and reality of the modern state So it isn t just Orwell that nailed our dystopian reality our reality seems to weep out of all these works into pools that really do reflect the closed confused and soul tearing aspect of modern governmentI can t stop thinking of Krug walking back and forth on a bridge trapped between the guards on both sides of the bridge One side can t read and refuses to sign his travel documents The other side won t accept his documents without signatures There exists a banality of evil ike Hannah Arendt pointed out years ago in Eichmann in Jerusalem but there is often just an incompetence of ev. Ng and compelling narrative about a civilized man caught in the tyranny of a police state It is first and foremost a compelling narrative about a civilized man and his child caught up in the tyranny of a police state Professor Adam Krug the country's. ,