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Invitation to a Beheading Paperback – September 19, 1989
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Top Customer Reviews
The mental musings of the prisoner are the focus of the book. The incidents are often highly surreal and not possible. They sometimes seem like one is reading a Magritte. Yet they are illustrative and fascinating. In one scene his family comes to visit him in prison, complete with furniture. In another he sees the prison director who is also the assistant director as miniature people. Wherever his musings take us, they are truly of great interest.
In the final scenes the surreal nature of the musing continues. The scene of the execution is somehow `disturbed.' Things are not as they should be. And as a result, he just disappears, along with everything else.
While the nature of the writing is extremely Kafkaesque, Nabokov had not read any Kafka when he wrote this story. In addition, neither Kafka, nor any of the major existentialists combine their philosophy with surrealism in the same way or to the same degree as does Nabokov in this book.
The book is recommended to all lovers of Nabokov and to those looking for a true contemporary classic fiction novel.
"Spiritual affinities have no place in my concept of literary criticism, but if I did have to choose a kindred soul, it would certainly be that great artist [Kafka - the Moose] rather than G. H. Orwell or other popular purveyors of illustrated ideas and publicistic fiction. Incidentally, I could never understand why every book of mine invariably sends reviewers scurrying in search of more or less celebrated names for the purpose of passionate comparison.Read more ›
Society demands complicity in its upholding of the consensual reality no matter how insane--and Cincinnatus C. won't endorse the insanity and thus he is a threat to reality itself, a destabilizing force.
I really enjoyed the first fifty pages or so of "Invitation," but one pretty much gets the idea after fifty pages and the routines and jokes wear stale. I found the book hard to finish, primarily, I think, for this very reason. But persevere I did. One thing that didn't help is that whoever the knuckleheads are over at Vintage who wrote the copy on this edition actually gave away the entire story, including the ending, right on the back cover! I mean, this isn't "Romeo and Juliet" or "The Christmas Carol" that we're talking about--we don't all know how it comes out in the end. Come on guys, use your heads.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This has to be one of the best, if not the best book in this genre .. wait .. what genre? Realistic surrealism? A Anti-Utopian dream, or A Utopian Nightmare? Read morePublished 6 months ago by Dimitrij
It's Nabolkov. What else it there to say? This is a cleanly printed copy that I purchased specifically for taking note-taking and dog-earing. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Amy Johnson
Great book, great author. He continues the tradition of the greatness of Russian writers.Published 17 months ago by Tony Dula
This novel captivated me from the beginning. Nabokov's style can sometimes cloud enjoyment, but in this case he was not overly preachy or wordy. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Will K.
First of all, I would like to combat any reviewer who claims that Nabokov's figurative language is simply meaningless babble. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Elise Melville
Very well-written, but rather boring. It reminded me of Kaka's "The Castle." I liked the surprise ending..Published 19 months ago by Sheila Hutman
This book really pushes you to stretch your imagination and question reality. I found it very comical at times while also being extremely profound.Published 19 months ago by Justin
100 stars! This is by far one of the most absurd, imaginative, and metaphorically insightful works of art I have ever encountered - it is what I would imagine a Dali painting to be... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Ioana