This definitive collection of Nabokov's short stories, compiled & introduced by his son Dmitri, provides the ideal introduction to Nabokov's brilliant canon. The sixty-five stories generally stem from several seperate collections of Nabokov's shorts- A Russian Beauty (1973), Tyrants Destroyed (1975) & Details of a Sunset (1976). There are also short stories that stem from other sources, such as 'Nabokov's Dozen', an example being 'Cloud, Castle, Lake'. In addition to the covenient collection of the short stories in a good value package, there is also a brief preface by Dmitri Nabokov & notes on the various stories included.
There are too many stories to detail here- though it is interesting to note the many that were written as a Russian emigre in Berlin & Paris, prior to Nabokov's later destinations: the USA and Switzerland. Highlights include fantastic/SF-style story 'Terra Incognita', the tricky relations between art and life found in 'Lips to Lips' , the amusing 'An Affair of Honour' & the title story to Tyrants Destroyed. Along with the novella The Enchanter (a tryout for Lolita, sadly not included but referred to here) this book provides the ideal introduction to Nabokov, before reading his great books such as Despair, Bend Sinister, Pale Fire, Speak Memory, Pnin & Laughter in the Dark.
Nabokov's Collected Stories also rank alongside the great writers in this mode, such as James Joyce, Flannery O'Connor, JG Ballard, Philip K Dick, Raymond Carver, Richard Yates, DH Lawrence, Borges etc.
on 10 October 2014
English was Nabokov's 3rd or 4th language. Many of his original stories were written in Russian and French. His own life story is almost as amazing as some of his stories..... After the Russian revolution etcetc...... He travelled Europe and then to the U.S. This collection is stunning - in my opinion he is a genius, a word- smith the like I have never seen. I read and re-read his works. The stories can sometimes be outlined in a few lines but the way he weaves and observes a lake or a rain soaked street at night, or a train travelling through the mountains is sublime and almost spiritual. If you like a Mills and Boone book this probably isn't something you would like but if you love the English language (or words) then if you havnt read Nabokov before give it a try.
on 12 September 1999
This is a very valuable book for any Nabokov reader. Indeed, a newcomer to the author would also find great pleasure in any one of this vast collection. As one reads further, one begins to see the emergence of the themes dealt with in Nabokov's later novels. In particular, the early stories, written in Berlin in the 1920s, reveal the beginnings of the fascination with memories and the meaning of nostalgia dealt with in 'Lolita' and 'Ada'. These are the types of stories that enter the mind to become memories independent of their source - memories of the imaginative experience. My favourites were 'The Aurelian' and 'Sounds'.