This memoire filled me with awe for one of the truly greatest writers of the 20C. You get the most astonishingly vivid portrait of how he thinks (or how he wants you to think he thinks), in an array of beautiful stories and the most vivid of memories. His views of a vanished Russia and then the emigre community before the Nazis took over are rendered in their full sensuality and comic vision; so are his early years in America. His first experience of writing poetry, in a kind of inspired trance, is destined to become a great classic of literature. He even write amazing captions to the photos in the book: I have remembered for 25 years how he described slapping at a mosquito in the night.
TO be sure, in spite of being a genius, he views are limited and sometimes stunted. But he can't be everything to everyone: if you take what he can give, it is well worth the ride and then some. I wanted to know what the man was like who wrote Lolita, and this was the best place I could find, even as he manipulates and distorts. His is one way to measure a life.