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)

Posts Tagged "Holocaust"

Pnin, the Cremona Women’s Club, and Jewish refugees after the war

Nabokov was crazy for complex allusions, intentionally seeding his fiction with literary and historical references, from pop culture and epic poetry to both in a single line (see “Chapman’s Homer” from Pale Fire). But there are so many winks and nods and proper names in his books, sorting out what has coherence from what is […]

Nabokov and concentration camps, part II

During the course of writing The Secret History, I was staggered by the stories I heard from sources and translators whose family lives had been shaped in brutal ways by political prisons and concentration camps. Some, like Nabokov’s family, had fled Russia westward away from Revolution or pogroms, only to have to escape Germany or […]

Nabokov, concentration camps, and a century of civilian casualties

Vladimir Nabokov was born in 1899, less than three years after the first concentration camps were founded thousands of miles away in Cuba. What does Vladimir Nabokov—creator of decadent fiction and king of literary insults—have to do with concentration camps? It’s a reasonable question. Like Nabokov, concentration camps were born in the nineteenth century but […]

Why we need a Secret History of Vladimir Nabokov

Why focus on Nabokov? And why now? These are questions I’ve been asked by everyone from prospective publishers to strangers who have heard I’m writing a book. Because there was no shortage of drama in his life, stories about Nabokov have endless potential. He fled the aftermath of the Russian Revolution with Bolsheviks firing machine […]