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Ada, Or Ardor - A Family Chronicle Hardcover – 1969


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 490 pages
  • Publisher: Mcgraw-hill Book Company; Book Club edition (1969)
  • ISBN-10: 2245003349
  • ISBN-13: 978-2245003343
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 6 x 2.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,387,788 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

This ebook suffers from way too many OCR errors.
Adam Thompson
This is one of my favorite books, and one of the best love stories ever written, and I'm not a fan of "love stories."
Ada Ardor
This tragic story of love and obsession is written as if it is the true life memoir of fictional character Van Veen.
A. C. Johnson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

145 of 160 people found the following review helpful By TUCO H. on October 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
"Ada" is an unconventional, sci-fi fantasy (no rockets and spaceships here, don't worry) firmly rooted in the late 19th and early 20th century Russia of Nabokov's birth, that takes place on a planet called Antiterra `parallel' to `our Earth' which is called Terra. Things have happened there in somewhat similar yet oddly different ways than on Terra (earth), including the fact that the Russian and American land masses are connected.
This set-up allows Nabokov as wide a scope as possible to dig into his own memories and also for prose excursions into uncharted territory. "Ada" is certainly his most comprehensive and difficult novel, and definitely his greatest after "Lolita" ("Pale Fire" die-hards can disagree all they want, but they probably haven't taken the time to delve deep enough into "Ada").
"Ada" is also Nabokov's own twist on Proustian memory investigations. It is being written as `memoirs' by his main character: Van Veen, but also includes certain intrusions by Ada Veen, who is with him as he's writing it (during the time they spend their old age together after years of separation). So, often, especially in the first third or so of the book, two perspectives of the past are provided. Two memories remember certain things they both experienced or saw, each from its special perspective, and sometimes one adds things the other may have forgotten. Towards the end of the book, Nabokov uses Van's slightly demented but deeply observant writings about the nature of Time to capsulize the thought processes that made Van write these memoirs in this `odd' way.
The main event in Van's memoirs is his secret incestuous relationship with Ada, who is his half-sister. Van is in love with Ada who loves him back and their love affair affects the whole course of their lives.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A. C. Johnson on July 15, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This tragic story of love and obsession is written as if it is the true life memoir of fictional character Van Veen. V.V. is a Russian-American aristocrat born to extreme wealth in the late 1800's on a fictional world called Antiterra. Antiterra is almost identical to Earth, except for minor details, such as the place names are different and some conveniences such as airplanes, telephones, and motion pictures were in existence as early as 1884.
That fateful year of 1884 provides the novel with its chief building block. Our narrator spent that summer, his 15th, at his aunt's summer house, Ardis, where he and his 12 year old cousin Ada Veen ended up falling in love with the mad insatiable passion that is typical for teenagers. Shortly after falling in love, though, the pair learns that due to a much more complex family tree than either initially realized, they are actually brother and sister casting a tragic shadow over their intoxicating relationship.
These facts are presented to us, although obscurely, within the first 30 pages of the 589 page book, so don't think that I have just given away any key plot points here. In fact, this novel is all about Van and Ada's refusal (or inability) to ever grow out of their idyllic, though incestuous, summertime romance. The summer of 1884 grows to haunt the rest of their lives, and this book for the most part is the story of that haunting.
The story is remarkable and for those who end up getting emotionally involved in the story, it is the type of novel that will seep into your soul unlike just about any book you may ever read. Unfortunately, a highly complex writing style is likely to act a a very major hurdle that will prevent a lot of people from ever getting through the book.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By L. Argiri on July 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
Be warned, this will not be an intellectual, rigorous review, just a tribute. I read this book first when I was seventeen, and I recently turned forty-six. There are very few things I loved passionately at seventeen and still love now, but this book is one of them: the heaven of the senses and the intellect that I would love to slip into and live in forever, moral ambiguities and incest and all. When I first read it, I was too young to realize that the reader is not meant to love the Veens as I did, but then again this book wasn't written for feverish, frantically bored little seventeen-year-olds. I think the reader is meant, in fact, to fall in love with Ada and Van, then to realize the damage in their wake and become their critic...and finally understand that anything exquisite and transcendent will be paid for - perhaps by the person who gets to experience it, perhaps by someone else. The book gets at this and other hidden, undiscussed moral laws that lurk behind kneejerk notions of sin, punishment, and accountability. Really, this is a novel that has something for everyone, whether his or her stage of life is Innocence, Experience, or any point between.
Ada is surreal and hyperreal...it's like some places which you can inhabit for decades and just keep discovering new beauties, new perils, new complexities in your ongoing contemplation. I don't think it is better than Lolita or Pale Fire, but it's more pleasurable; Lolita is replete with moral outrages, and with monstrousness that has horrible, fully-played-out consequences, and Pale Fire is a bottomless well of sadness and believable grief. (Pale Fire is one of the few books that ever did/still do make me cry.
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