Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Gift Paperback – May 7, 1991
|New from||Used from|
Intrusion: A Novel
A loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, finds their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives. Learn More
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Shirin himself was a thickset man with a reddish crew cut, always badly shaved and wearing large spectacles behind which, as in two aquariums, swam two tiny, transparent eyes--which were completely impervious to visual impressions. He was blind like Milton, deaf like Beethoven, and a blockhead to boot.Of course, only a fraction of The Gift is taken up with this sort of demolition derby. Fyodor's romance with Zina, for example, occasions the most ardent prose of Nabokov's career: "And not only was Zina cleverly and elegantly made to measure for him by a very painstaking fate, but both of them, forming a single shadow, were made to the measure of something not quite comprehensible, but wonderful and benevolent and continuously surrounding them." (Shades of Volodya and Véra? Only the deceased husband and wife, and perhaps Stacy Schiff, know for sure.)
At the same time, The Gift is a brilliant, mesmerizing riff on the history of Russian literature, with elaborate bouquets tossed to Pushkin and Gogol. There's also a hilarious yet somehow tender evisceration of the do-gooding polemicist Nikolai Chernyshevski--which was suppressed, in fact, when the novel was originally serialized by a Russian émigré magazine. As should be clear by now, The Gift defies any attempt at quick-and-dirty summary. But the book plays the most pleasurable kind of havoc with our stuffy notions of narrative structure and linguistic protocol. And as Nabokov repeatedly wraps the reader's consciousness around his little finger, he never holds back on that ultimate literary gift: pleasure. --James Marcus
Top Customer Reviews
`The plot of Chapter One centers in Fyodor's poems. Chapter Two is a surge toward Pushkin in Fyodor's literary progress and contains his attempt to describe his father's zoological explorations. Chapter Three shifts to Gogol, but its real hub is the love poem dedicated to Zina. Fyodor's book on Chernyshevsky, a spiral within a sonnet, takes care of Chapter Four. The last chapter combines all the preceding themes and adumbrates the book Fyodor dreams of writing someday: The Gift.'
I would need to read this book at least two more times to fully appreciate it. It is not a novel to be devoured quickly, it deserves to be savoured slowly. On this, my first read, I simply enjoyed Nabokov's use of language both as he describes Fyodor's progress and as he lampoons Nikolai Chernyshevsky (1828-1889) in the `spiral within a sonnet'. It's beautifully done, the way that Nabokov works a biography of Chernyshevsky into his novel, contrasting two quite different Russias but with some shared shortcomings.
`Existence is thus an eternal transformation of the future into the past - an essentially phantom process - a mere reflection of the material metamorphosis taking place within us.'
And when the novel ends, will Fyodor's success continue? Will he and Zina be happy? Or will his (and their) moment be brief, like the butterflies?Read more ›
The other reviews have objected to the inclusion of the Chernyshevsky biography. I would recommend reading up a bit on Chernyshevsky before starting the book. Even the Wikipedia entry should be enough. The point of the Chernyshevsky section is to contrast the lack of knowledge of the materialists (including Lenin, who was deeply influenced by Chernyshevsky, and the Bolsheviks) with the gentry tradition of Fyodor's father, who was a great naturalist. While Chernyshevsky said he was interested in the material world, he actually knew nothing about it and only managed to destroy and befoul what was around him. This indictment of Chernyshevsky is of course also an indictment of the Bolsheviks, which is noted in the novel, as the "work" was published by an anti-Soviet publisher. The part on Chernyshevsky says that he knew nothing of actual things and could only write about the relationship between things. This is quite insightful, actually. Once you understand this part, you can see why even such small things as Fyodor's naming of all the butterflies and other objects in the Grunewald forest is an important part of the novel.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great item and good service. This book is such a masterful example of deconstruction and postmodern art literature.Published 19 months ago by Amazon Customer
We all have to choose (or have it selected for us). Nabokov chose the latter, and The Gift is a celebration of that choice with a diatribe against the opposite camp thrown in. Read morePublished 22 months ago by dogstar
His last book in Russian and a worthy farewell. Nabokov's complex and difficult novel can be tough to stick to but is so original and unpredictable that one should persevere.Published on August 26, 2013 by Charles C. Dyer
I tend to read fairly quickly, ladies and gentlemen, but "The Gift" took me way more time than even its 366 pages would seem to indicate. Read morePublished on January 20, 2013 by benshlomo
I needed the novel in order to begin advising one of my graduate students who has embarked on a formalist study of Nabokov's masterful work. Read morePublished on November 25, 2011 by John Taylor
The GIFT is a brilliant non-chronological bildungsroman that shows Fyodor Godunov-Cherdyntsev, a Russian born to privilege and affluence in the final years of Nicholas II, becoming... Read morePublished on March 8, 2011 by Ethan Cooper
The Gift is one of Nabokov's last novels originally written in Russian. As such, you might suspect it's Nabokov at the height of his powers. Read morePublished on July 15, 2010 by Marco