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Vineland (Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin)
Thomas Pynchon
Tristes Tropiques
Claude Lévi-Strauss, Patrick Wilcken, John Weightman, Doreen Weightman
Richard III
William Shakespeare
The Dwarf
Alexandra Dick, Pär Lagerkvist
The Collected Poems of Wilfred Owen
Wilfred Owen, Cecil Day-Lewis
Labyrinths
Richard Wolin
Giotto to Dürer: Early Renaissance Painting in the National Gallery
Jill Dunkerton, Susan Foister, Dillian Gordon, Nicholas Penny
Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics
Hubert L. Dreyfus, Paul Rabinow
Gravity's Rainbow
Thomas Pynchon
A Gravity's Rainbow Companion: Sources and Contexts for Pynchon's Novel
Steven Weisenburger

Pnin (Everyman's Library)

Pnin (Everyman's Library) - Vladimir Nabokov Pnin may give the appearance of being a 'slight' work -- compared, at any rate, to Nabokov's alleged ( -- I say 'alleged', only because I have not yet read either Lolita or Pale Fire... I'm working up to them --) masterpieces. And so I see a lot of four and three stars. But in my (and it is not allegedly, but often demonstrated) uninformed opinion, this is a mistake -- this is a slight book, indeed! (The punctuation here is deliberate -- as I want to mislead you.) Written as he was finishing, or on finishing Lolita, one has the feeling that he 'needed a break'.... But it is a mature work, of a writer of genius.

Then again, part of the 'slightness' comes merely from the fact that there is no tragedy in it; and from the fact that Pnin, unlike so many of Nabokov's other figures, is not sick..., but is truly charming. Goodness often feels 'slight'.

At any way, to call this 'slight' is like calling a prelude of Bach's 'slight' -- It is, but...

I can also say that Nabokov's eye is quite remarkable. Having myself grown up in the NY Russian émigré community -- I remember my grandparents talking about Kerensky, who lived downtown, and whom they knew slightly -- even the description of the old Russian putting on his coat, and the gestures involved... is astonishingly accurate. (And of course, I'm always thrilled when any good book puts its characters on the 104 -- as Pnin and Nabokov (the narrator) sway and strap-hold their way one night....; another example is Mr. Sammler, who meets the Negro with the cashmere coat, on the 104... going south from 116th St., if I recall...). But I digress....

I can also assure you from long and bitter experience that Nabokov's description of the vain and empty dummkopfs who populate the third-rate (err... let's say, 'third-tier'..., since telling the truth is not considered "good form" in such circles) colleges and universities, couldn't be funnier or more on-target. As I can attest -- from bitter, bitter experience....

...or did I say that already?

Anyway... GREAT book!

IM (allegedly) HO