Praise for The Secret History

"A penetrating analysis certain to compel a major reassessment of the Nabokov canon."
— starred review, Booklist

"...a brilliant examination that adds to the understanding of an inspiring and enigmatic life."
— starred review, Kirkus

"Highly recommended for all Nabokov fans..."
— starred review, Library Journal

"Certainly the most remarkable and insightful book on Vladimir Nabokov in many years."
— Michael Maar, author of Speak, Nabokov and The Two Lolitas

"... an intriguing and provocative new take on one of the giants of modern American letters."
— Adam Hochschild, author of To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion: 1914-1918 and other books

"... a feat of fascinating literary detective work ..."
— Christopher Goffard, author of You Will See Fire and Snitch Jacket

"A wide-ranging introduction to Nabokov's life and work as well as a game-changer for those readers who thought they knew his writing cold."
— Steven Belletto, author of No Accident, Comrade: Chance and Design in Cold War American Narratives (Oxford U. Press)

Archive for the "Beginner" Category

The Montreux Palace Hotel, Nabokov’s final home

If you could afford to live anywhere in the world, where would you settle? After the blazing success of Lolita in America and the sale of its movie rights to James Harris and Stanley Kubrick, Vladimir Nabokov and his wife Véra ended up in Switzerland, joining the community of celebrities at the Montreux Palace Hotel on the […]

Nabokov playing cards: your chance to weigh in (and win a prize)

I have several projects only tangentially related to The Secret History  simmering in the background, from a Nabokov novel generator that’s in process (no kidding) to a potential annotation effort. But with so many possibilities out there, why stop now? At a few points this summer, I’ll be forced away from the computer. And while […]

Brain Pickings and Star Tribune review The Secret History

In case you missed it earlier this week, Maria Popova of Brain Pickings wrote up The Secret History for Nabokov’s birthday. Popova focuses on the point in the book when Nabokov arrives in America in the midst of World War II, with all the attendant bureaucracy and anxiety over threats to national security. Along the way she also […]

Happy birthday, Nabokov! What does the FBI have on you?

When is Vladimir Nabokov’s birthday anyway? Depending on where you look, you’ll see April 10, April 22, and April 23 listed, but which is it? The answer is… all three. As Nabokov explains in his autobiography, Speak, Memory, he was born in Russia in 1899 on April 10, but at that point in time Russia […]

Remembering Ardis: a note from Fred Moody

[The first in a series of guest posts on Nabokov and history.] When I first heard about the forthcoming publication of The Secret History of Vladimir Nabokov, I pre-ordered the Kindle version immediately. I was hugely curious about the book, as I humbly thought I knew pretty much everything there was to know about Nabokov’s […]

Nabokov’s wartime escape on the SS Champlain

When Vladimir Nabokov crossed from Europe to America on the SS Champlain in May 1940, he was accompanied by his wife Véra and son Dmitri. I’ve already posted Vladimir’s and Véra’s immigration files. Today I want to share the ship’s passenger record for their trip on the Champlain. In a detail from the first of two pages […]