- ASIN: B004W3NND2
- Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 0.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,635,355 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Pale Fire Publisher: Vintage Paperback – 1988
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Top Customer Reviews
There seems to be a compulsion to excavate down to a notional foundation stratum of this novel of playful puzzles, mis-identifications and wilful mis-representations. Is Kinbote Botkin? Is Shade Kinbote? Is Kinbote Shade? Is Shade haunting Kinbote? And did Grey kill Shade mistakenly for Kinbote or for the Judge in whose house Kinbote resides?
The answers to these questions are diverting but ultimately miss the point. The pathways of meaning are deliberately constructed by Nabokov to betray, obfuscate and delight the reader. Almost every novel he wrote was a literary dance suspended in the aether. He had little interest in Reality or historical veracity. His Muse, to whom he paid the deepest respect, enjoins him to celebrate the imaginative instinct in all its manifold immanences. As Appel termed it, Nabokov wrote `involuted' novels employing a variety of literary techniques and tropes in order to celebrate and praise the creative impulse. Imagination and the many worlds that it could conjure are the end-point and starting-point for everything that he wrote. This is what his novels are `about'.Read more ›
Turning to the novel itself, we have Kinbote's forward at the beginning and index at the end, and the actual John Shade poem, entitled `Pale Fire', and the extensive Charles Kinbote commentary on the poem, which turns out to be not only a commentary in the conventional sense of the term, but a benchmark for a subject of Kinbote's prime interest - his dear distant northern land, Zembla, and a subject even more dear to his heart - himself. Indeed, Charles Kinbote. What a man!Read more ›
How these facts refer to the fictions in his novel is another question. There is a long poem at the centre (not bad, reminding one in a way of T.S.Eliot) by some distinguished American poet, John Shade (I confess I looked him up in Wikipedia). Then there is arrogant (yet self-ironical), obsessive Charles X. Kinbote, who pretends to be the loyal, dedicated editor of this poem adding a long "commentary", a mass of shorter or longer footnotes, which then make up the largest part of the novel. But, in fact, Kinbote gladly takes anything from the poem that sets him off talking about himself, his past, his beloved and lost Zembla ("a distant northern land"), from which he had to emigrate after the Revolution, like the king of Zembla, Charles the Beloved, with the killer Gradus at his heels. What is the great design of this?
Kinbote professes to be a great lover of art. When finally he manages to lay his hands on the finished manuscript of Shade's, he presses it against his body sighing: "bullet-proof at long last" (300).And he considers his footnotes as art, too: "I can do what only a true artist can do - pounce upon the forgotten butterfly of revelation, wean myself abruptly from the habit of things, see the web of the world"(289). We hear Nabokov, the butterfly-expert talking.Read more ›