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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.
looked at its nib; tested it on a bit of paper; and, holding his breath, slowly unfolded the convolutions of his name. Having completed the ornamentation of its complex tail, he raised his pen and surveyed the glamour he had wrought. Unfortunately at this precise moment, his golden wand (perhaps resentful of the concussions that its master’s various exertions had been transmitting to it throughout the evening) shed a big black tear on the valuable typescript. Really flushing this time, the V
friend of the boss, or the head of the firm himself, or even the head’s brother-in-law Gogolevitch, and so on) warranted the rudeness of the interjection; which interjection however had the effect of ensuring complete silence for the rest of the trip. Only when the somewhat roughly driven car swerved into Peregolm Lane, did the unrestful young man, who realized no doubt the bewildered state of mind of the widower, open his mouth again. “Here we are,” he said genially, “I hope you have your
the individual atom is free: it pulsates as it wants, in low or high gear; it decides itself when to absorb and when to radiate energy. There is something to be said for the method employed by male characters in old novels: it is indeed soothing to press one’s brow to the deliciously cold windowpane. So he stood, poor percipient. The morning was grey with patches of thawing snow. David would have to be fetched from the kindergarten in a few minutes (if his watch was right). The slow languid
krakhmalchiki [starched collars for men and boys], glockenmetall [bronzo da campane], geschützbronze [bronzo da cannoni], blasebalgen [vozdukhoduvnye mekha] and other useful gadgets. Detailed accounts of various meetings of factory people or collective kitchen gardeners, snappy articles, devoted to the problems of bookkeeping, denunciations, news of the activities of innumerable professional unions and the clipped accents of poems printed en escalier (incidentally tripling the per line
the assembly hall] and informed them [i soobshchil im] that he had just received a telephone message according to which they would all be court-martialled for doing to death the only son of Professor Krug, celebrated philosopher, President of the University, Vice-President of the Academy of Medicine. Weak-hearted Hammecke slid from his chair and went on sliding, tobogganing down sinuous slopes, and after a smooth swoon-run finally came to rest like a derelict sleigh on the virgin snows of