Friday, September 9, 2011

Opening Sentence of the Day: Speak, Memory

Some facts, some figures.
-- from the Introduction by Nabokov biographer, Brian Boyd, to Speak, Memory by Vladamir Nabokov.

The present work is a systematically correlated assemblage of personal recollections ranging geographically from St. Petersburg to St. Nazaire, and covering thiry-seven years, from August 1903 to May 1940, with only a few sallies into later space-time.

-- from the author's 1966 Foreword to the revised, final edition.

The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.

-- from Chapter One of the revised, final edition of Speak, Memory.

I have had this book -- Nabokov's autobiography of his life before moving to America in 1940 -- on my TBR shelf ever since I read Pale Fire (reviewed here) and became a devoted fan.  I am finally getting to it and it is wonderful.

I am weird about reading Nobokov's books. I love them when I read them -- love them more than anything. But then I don't want to read another because that will mean one fewer Nabokov book to look forward to. This is completely irrational. And if there is one author whose books deserve reading multiple times, he's the man. So I know that I am being silly, but I still wait too long to pick up the next one.


  1. It's been quite a long time since I read this...for a non-fiction course in college. I do remember enjoying it more than most of the other books on the reading list.

    Here's my Friday:

  2. Bev: Now that I am halfway through, I enjoy it and admire his talent in how he organizes and portrays his childhood memories, but it is not making me gleeful like the novels I've read. I think the second half will pick up as we get past childhood.

  3. Wow, the first line from the autobiography packs a punch. I like it and I may just have to read the book.

    Thanks for participating in Book Beginnings!

  4. Not one for me, but that first sentence is captivating. Thanks for sharing :)

  5. I have never read anything by Nabakov but now I definitely want to!


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