A Year in Books/Day 27: Vera

  • Title: Vera [Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov]
  • Author: Stacy Schiff
  • Year Published: 1999/This Edition: 2000 (Modern Library Paperback Edition)
  • Year Purchased: 2002/2003
  • Source: Barnes & Noble Clearance Rack
  • About: Vera Slonim Nabokov was never a writer. Nor, as far as it is known, did she ever harbor that ambition. She was, by a series of disturbing historical circumstances, something of a professional refugee. Although she held a number of jobs, the impossibility-and ultimate imprudence-of separating Vera from her husband and their famous 52-year-marriage jumps starkly from the page. To her husband and posterity’s great good fortune, she quietly trespassed outside the bounds of musedom: it is every bit as impossible to separate Vladimir from his wife and her contributions to his psyche and soul and, eventually, his literature.
  • Motivation: Nabokov, Nabokov, Nabokov! So fantastic, revolutionary, disquieting (eh, I know his opinions on women writers and still I return to his words). This was a literary biography by proxy, in a way, as I knew it would be. The upshot was becoming acquainted with the enigmatic Vera.
  • Times Read: 2
  • Random Excerpt/Page 24: “Some things were to be insisted upon, on the other hand. Vera Slonim learned a great number of lessons from her father, only one of which was how to how to hold a thirteen-year-grudge, a lesson she would put to good use.”
  • Happiness Scale: 10

    Signature of Vladimir Nabokov

    Image via Wikipedia