Entries in BOOKS (2)

Monday
Feb012010

A Fragmented Novel


I was in Green Apple Bookstore today falling in love with every book wishing the store had their own credit card so I could spend all the money on books I wanted, when I saw this beautifully designed hardback. I don't want to say it was "written" by Vladimir Nabokov because there's controversy over why this was published when it was never supposed to. Ooo, sounds like literature gossip, doesn't it? It is.

Apparently, Nabokov had never wanted to publish this novel if he had not finished it. When he passed away in 1977, "The Original of Laura" sat unfinished, and it was through direct orders from the writer himself that his wife was to destroy the fragmented novel if it were never completed. Like any other wife with a brilliant writer for a husband would have done, she kept the pieces of unfinished work. She had never published it, but she also hadn't destroyed it.

In 1991 she passed away leaving the fragmented novel to stay with the remaining family, their son, Dmitri. Once the responsibility was left in his hands he considered keeping to his fathers' wishes as well. Until now.

The cover of the book prints "A Novel in Fragments", because it literally is. Nabokov had written his only draft on index cards. And because this was the way the pieces of novel survived, his son decided to publish the unfinished novel with the cards themselves.

When you open the book you see replicated index cards printed on each page with the type printed directly beneath it. You can choose to read the book though the scribbles of Nabokov's handwriting or through the paragraphs printed below the cards. And, if you're really in the mood to become one with Nabokov and attempt to see his writing the way he did, you can punch out each index card (yes, they perforated every card in the book), and arrange them how you'd imagine the story of "The Original of Laura" being told.


Unfortunately, I did not buy the book. I'll just have to return during the week to admire it and read snippets. If any of you read it let me know how it is. I've read articles saying it's not quite the read considering half of the novel is placed in an order that most believe was not the original way Nabokov had intended.

Photo creds: A Look Inside!,

Saturday
Mar012008

Consuming Literature

 

For the past month I have stopped writing so that I could concentrate on a book that I have not been able to put down. The book is, The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I'm almost to its end, and have found myself reading slowly as not to end it so quickly. I want to say it's one of the best pieces of literature I have read, because it is.
The story takes places in Barcelona during the 1950's when a father takes his son, Daniel, to The Cemetery of Forgotten Books. Daniel is told to choose any book that 'calls to him' from the never-ending shelves of books that have long been awaiting a new reader. His father, a man who knows the place of each book in that room by memory is surprised when Daniel pulls out a book he has never seen, by an author he has never heard of. The book changes Daniel's life, and from that moment, Daniel becomes obsessed with finding any information he can about the author and the whereabouts of his previous novels (that he soon finds out have all been burned). He travels through the small village, a dark shadow of a man following in his tracks, meeting people that withhold details surrounding the true life of the author. As his quest continues, parallels between his own life and the life of the author begin to surface.
I feel lucky to have gotten the chance to read this story, and just had to tell you about it. It must be shared and enjoyed by anyone that still enjoys being taken to another world through language and literature.