Top positive review
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In a class of its own. Awe-inspiring prose.
on 13 December 2004
To write a review of Ada is almost impossible except to say that it is the book in which Nabokov, the greatest prose stylist in English, uses his mastery of the language and his great knowledge of European literary history to his greatest extent and evidently enjoys himself! The whole book is choc-a-bloc with word-play, literary puzzles, allusions to other works, hidden quotations, alliteration, streams of consciousness, history, science fiction, dollops of French, helpings of Russian, laces of Latin, poetry, catalogues of erotica, and many many other things..this is a literature lover's delight but requires great concentration; however, even more so than Lolita, the dedicated reader will be delighted and rewarded like he or she has never been before. This is Nabokov at his literary peak. Rarely can any writer of English have written prose of this calibre. Awe-inspiring is the only word I can think of to describe it.
The plot, as it is, deals with the love story between Ada and Van Veen who happen to be first cousins from their first meeting as young teenagers to their old age and eventual death and is set in a parallel world to Earth called Antiterra which is similar to--yet different in some geographical and historical aspects-- to our own Earth (or Terra)...
It is quite a long book too (500 odd pages of dense text) but eminently worth the effort and time. The only problem is once you have read Nabokov, and especially Ada, no other novel gives as much pleasure afterwards so every other fictional book afterwards pales in comparison (so far...)! I would give my left arm to be able to write prose like this!