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Bend Sinister av Vladimir Nabokov
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Bend Sinister (urspr publ 1947; utgåvan 1990)

av Vladimir Nabokov

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
1,491238,990 (3.76)66
The state has been recently taken over and is being run by the tyrannical and philistine 'Average Man' party. Under the slogans of equality and happiness for all, it has done away with individualism and freedom of thought. Only John Krug, a brilliant philosopher, stands up to the regime. His antagonist, the leader of the new party, is his old school enemy, Paduk - known as the 'Toad'. Grieving over his wife's recent death, Krug is at first dismissive of Paduk's activities and sees no threat in them. But the sinister machine which Paduk has set in motion may prove stronger than the individual, stronger even than the grotesque 'Toad' himself.… (mer)
Medlem:peptastic
Titel:Bend Sinister
Författare:Vladimir Nabokov
Info:Vintage (1990), Paperback, 272 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:
Taggar:Ingen/inga

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Bend Sinister av Vladimir Nabokov (1947)

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10. Bend Sinister by Vladimir Nabokov
published: 1947
format: 185-page kindle ebook
acquired: February 28
read: Feb 28 – Mar 20
time reading: 10 hr 6 min, 3.4 min/page
rating: 4
locations: fictional autocratic state
about the author: 1899 – 1977. Russia born, educated at Trinity College in Cambridge, 1922. Lived in Berlin (1922-1937), Paris, the US (1941-1961) and Montreux, Switzerland (1961-1977).

Nabokov‘s first American novel pokes tragic fun at the Soviet Union and the surreal experience of arbitrary terror and constant warping of reality. It‘s a bit difficult, as he plays games with different languages, obscure English words and syntaxes. And I had trouble getting going. I felt for a while I was just hacking through trying to find some direction. There is a sense here of attack on the English language, and it might be intentional.

But ultimately the plot is clear enough. A philosopher and half-brother of a dictator suffers under this regime of terror both literally and psychologically. And, unwilling to serve and wanting to basically hide, slowly begins to lose his protection and immunity.

The book relishes in surreal absurdities. In his intro, VN says, “automatic comparisons between Bend Sinister and Kafka's creations or Orwell's clichés would go merely to prove that the automaton could not have read either the great German writer or the mediocre English one.” But these two references go a long way to explaining the atmosphere of the novel and its dark humor. Nabokov works the tension of situations especially by mixing an irreverent dryer humor with dreadful happenings. That could be said for most of his novels, although he might go a little darker here. Certainly nothing was sacred in fiction for this author. (Bring on [Lolita]!)

2021
https://www.librarything.com/topic/330945#7464552 ( )
  dchaikin | Mar 27, 2021 |
NA
  pszolovits | Feb 3, 2021 |
The first novel Nabokov wrote while living in America and the most overtly political novel he ever wrote, Bend Sinister is a modern classic. While it is filled with veiled puns and characteristically delightful wordplay, it is, first and foremost, a haunting and compelling narrative about a civilized man caught in the tyranny of a police state. It is first and foremost a compelling narrative about a civilized man and his child caught up in the tyranny of a police state. Professor Adam Krug, the country's foremost philosopher, offers the only hope of resistance to Paduk, dictator and leader of the Party of the Average Man. In a folly of bureaucratic bungling and ineptitude, the government attempts to co-opt Krug's support in order to validate the new regime.
  huayapam | Jun 11, 2019 |
This book reminded me a a little of "Invitation to a Beheading" because of the nightmarish, inescapable feeling of doom throughout the story. However, while "Invitiation" had a kind of Alice-in-Wonderlandish absurdity to it that makes it almost charming, this book is filled with sharp punches to the gut that are too disturbing to be charming. It is the story of one man's attempt to escape a totalitarian regime. Worth reading, but not really a pleasant experience. ( )
1 rösta Marse | Sep 9, 2017 |
One thing I find hardest to do is blast a novel by a well-known, widely-admired, great writer. So I struggle to write this review of Bend Sinister by Vladimir Nabokov. I read this novel long before I started keeping track of my reading with this journal more than 10 years ago. Perhaps I notice the things which bothered me more now that I have experience writing these reviews. Reading with a possible public review in mind certainly has affected these writings.

Nabokov is well-known for his meticulous pursuit of the correct word in a sentence. I have heard tell he sometimes spent hours trying to find a precise word to fill a blank in a sentence, of a chapter, of a novel. I admit to sometimes searching for a particular word, but I never spent more than a few minutes – sometimes with the help of a dictionary and a thesaurus.

When I began re-reading Bend Sinister, I was immediately struck by his diction. In the first chapter, he wrote, “An oblong puddle in the coarse asphalt; like a fancy footprint filled to the brim with quicksilver; like a spatulate hole through which you can see nether sky. Surrounded. I note, by a diffuse tentacled black dampness where some dull dun leaves have stuck. Drowned, I should say, before the puddle had shrunk to its present size” (1). Can readers spot the two “made-up words”? Can you spot words that seem just a bit pretentious? Not to forget to mention some rather strange syntax?

Now, I pride myself on a higher than usual vocabulary, but on the other hand I have long fought the fight against obfuscation in my diction. I suspect the latter was a reaction to the legalese I suffered through for about 15 years. I might also blame my admiration for Hemingway, that is, his diction not his misogyny. I even find this paragraph a bit pretentious. What is a reader/writer to do?

Well, I have decided. I am going to tell the world I believe the emperor has no clothes or, rather, the emperor has too many dictionary pages stuck to his crown.

Here is part of another paragraph my reading notes labeled as poetic. Nabokov wrote, “November trees, poplars, I imagine, two of them growing straight out of the asphalt: all of them in the cold bright sun, bright richly furrowed bark and an intricate sweep of numberless burnished bare twigs, old gold—because getting more of the falsely mellow sun in the higher air. Their immobility is in contrast with the spasmodic ruffling of the inset reflection—for the visible emotion of a tree is the mass of its leaves, and there remain hardly more than thirty-seven or so here and there on one side of the tree. They just flicker a little, of a neutral tint, but burnished by the sun to the same ikontinct…” (2). “Ikontinct” is not in my OED or my Random House Dictionary of well-over twenty-four hundred pages. It is amazing how a single word can spoil otherwise wonderful poetic phrasing.

Okay, so now I must choose: slog through hundreds of pages with who knows how many unidentifiable words, or revert with a measure of pretension of my own to that old Latin phrase: Quot Libros, Quam Breve Tempus. Look it up if you wish. 2 stars.

--Jim, 3/5/17 ( )
2 rösta rmckeown | Apr 9, 2017 |
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An oblong puddle inset in the coarse asphalt; like a fancy footprint filled to the brim with quicksilver; like a spatulate hole through which you can see the nether sky.
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The state has been recently taken over and is being run by the tyrannical and philistine 'Average Man' party. Under the slogans of equality and happiness for all, it has done away with individualism and freedom of thought. Only John Krug, a brilliant philosopher, stands up to the regime. His antagonist, the leader of the new party, is his old school enemy, Paduk - known as the 'Toad'. Grieving over his wife's recent death, Krug is at first dismissive of Paduk's activities and sees no threat in them. But the sinister machine which Paduk has set in motion may prove stronger than the individual, stronger even than the grotesque 'Toad' himself.

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