The Gift by Vladimir Nabokov

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Russia is populated with sunflowers. This is the largest most fat-faced and stupidest of flowers.

The Gift by Vladimir Nabokov is the story of Fyodor, a Russian émigré living in Germany. A pretentious young man, he fancies himself a poet and moves within a literary circle populated with other pompous individuals like himself. Eventually he gives up on poetry and writes a boring biography about a Russian poet that he finds absolutely astounding. Then we are subjected to an incredibly long synopsis of said boring book. After that finally ends there’s a little more about Fyodor and then the book itself finally comes to a conclusion.

And that’s about all I can say about this book. From the start it didn’t keep my attention. I don’t know if I had more on my mind than usual but I just could not concentrate for more than three sentences at a time. 90% of this book never even registered because my attention kept wandering to other things like, “I wonder if I would be more comfortable if I took off my pants.” Or, “I think I might need to pee.”

I normally don’t read reviews before I read a book because I like to be surprised, but I might have to start because the 4 out of 5 stars this book received really led me down the wrong path. Had I gone to Goodreads beforehand, I would have seen review after review comparing this excellent book to the other excellent works of Proust and Joyce. I would have known then and there that I was in for a journey to hellish boredom. A journey I did NOT have to go on.

There is one thing I would like to say for this novel. Although overall not to my liking, it did contain snippets of Nabokov humor, which is why I give it two stars instead of one.

Just as some people speak with a southern or Moscow pronunciation so did mother and daughter invariably speak to one another in the accents of a quarrel.

 

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