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 says some generous things about the book as a whole.
What few realize, however — and what Pitzer reveals through newly-declassified intelligence files and rigorously researched military records — is that Nabokov wove serious and unsettling political history into the fabric of his fiction, which had gone undetected for decades: until now. Absorbing and illuminating, The Secret History of Vladimir Nabokov paints an unparalleled portrait of the author’s dimensional life and legacy, remarkably, without stripping his work of any of its magic.
See the whole post here.
It’s thrilling to see the book get so much attention. Over the weekend, Jamie Olson also reviewed The Secret History for the Star Tribune, closing with this:
Without question, the horrors of the 20th century have always rumbled beneath the surface of Nabokov’s novels, and Pitzer’s new book is a fine guide to their nightmarish underbelly.
Read the full review here.
More tomorrow on upcoming events in the Midwest!