A rich treat for Nabokov’s admirers.



Scores of interviews reveal Nabokov’s sly wit and powerful opinions.

Award-winning biographer, editor, and literary critic Boyd (English/Univ. of Auckland; Why Lyrics Last: Evolution, Cognition and Shakespeare's Sonnets, 2012, etc.) and scholar and translator Tolstoy (Junior Research Fellow/University of Oxford; co-translator: Nabokov’s The Tragedy of Mister Morn, 2013) have gathered more than 150 uncollected writings by the prolific Nabokov (Letters to Véra, 2014, etc.): essays, reviews, questionnaire responses, letters to editors, and—accounting for the majority of the pieces—interviews, most dating from the “post-Lolita years of world fame.” An informative introduction places the selections in the context of Nabokov’s life and writing career. After Lolita appeared in 1958, interviewers pressed Nabokov about not only the book, but also opinions of other writers, his decision to live in America (the “country where I’ve breathed most deeply,” he said), his interest in butterflies, and his assessment of his own work. Boyd has condensed some of the more repetitive interviews. Nabokov claimed that his favorite book was the just-published Lolita, “the story of a poor, charming girl” who was “caught up by a disgusting and cruel man.” To the suggestion that any of his books could be elucidated by Freudian interpretation, he was indignant: Freud, he proclaimed, “has been one of the most pernicious influences on literature…a medieval mind dealing in medieval symbols.” Psychoanalysis, he added, “has something Bolshevik: internal police.” Nabokov had similarly vehement opinions about a host of writers: Dostoevsky was “a journalist, like Balzac,” and “Camus is a third-rate novelist.” He admired Hemingway’s short stories, but he thought his novels were “abominable.” Of Nobel Prize winner Boris Pasternak, Nabokov derided Dr. Zhivago as “a sorry thing, full of clichés, clumsy, trivial and melodramatic.” J.D. Salinger, though, was “a great, wonderful writer—the best American novelist.” When asked what other career he might have chosen “if the muse failed,” Nabokov suggested a lepidopterist, chess grandmaster, or a “tennis ace with an unreturnable service.”

A rich treat for Nabokov’s admirers.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-101-87491-2

Page Count: 576

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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