Back in November of 2009, it was started that Playboy would be publishing the first look at Vladimir Nabokov's last novel, The Original of Laura (Dying is Fun) - a novel in fragments. Of course I went off and purchased that issue of Playboy - which I still have tucked away on bookshelf. It took me a while, but I eventually purchased a copy of The Original of Laura sometime last year.
After a few setbacks - this strange dry spell that has come over me - last night, I decided to give the book a try, ignoring the other books I'm currently (supposedly) reading. The last book that took me little time to read was a little novel written by a seventeen-year-old that read like it was written by a seventeen-year-old by the name of Twelve. Of course, Vladimir Nabokov's writing is several times greater than Nick McDonell's will ever be.
The novel - written on index cards which were scanned and used in the book (as evidence, I suppose), which are also detachable (which is annoying) - doesn't follow anything linear. That's to be expected, of course, as it appears the book is consisting of notes by the author. However, its deviation - per se - of conventionality doesn't keep it from consuming its reader. At once I was sucked into his prose, very much in the same way that Lolita drew me in when I first read it.
But because of its - should I say unique? - style, it's hard to come up with an accurate description of the story, let alone a review that would do it justice. The prose - much like that of Lolita - being the only other novel I've read by Nabokov, not including a few short stories here and there during my college years - is quite poetic and well structured. The wording hypnotic at times. It's hard to ignore the aspects - the potential - of how great the novel would have been if Nabokov was able to complete it before his death. The novel mixes in the erotic and a sort of dark comedy of morality - hence the subtitle Dying is Fun.
While it was never meant to see the light of literary world, I'm glad that Dmitri Nabokov went against his father's wishes and published the novel rather than burn it. And now I but sit an wait until the letters of James Joyce are finally allowed to see the light of day. It's just another year, right?