GUARDIAN BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2014
No marriage of a major twentieth-century writer lasted longer than Vladimir Nabokov’s. Véra Slonim shared his delight at the enchantment of life’s trifles and literature’s treasures, and he rated her as having the best and quickest sense of humour of any woman he had met. From their meeting in 1921, Vladimir’s letters to his beloved Véra form a narrative arc that tells a forty-six year-long love story, and they are memorable in their entirety. Almost always playful, romantic, and pithy, the letters tell us much about the man and the writer; we see that Vladimir observed everything, from animals, faces, speech, and landscapes with genuine fascination.
About the Author
Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), born in St Petersburg, exiled in Cambridge, Berlin, and Paris, became the greatest Russian writer of the first half of the twentieth century. Fleeing to the US with his family in 1940, he then became the greatest writer in English of the second half of the century, and even ‘God’s own novelist’ (William Deresiewicz). He lived in Europe from 1959 onwards, and died in Montreux, Switzerland. All his major works – novels, stories, an autobiography, poems, plays, lectures, essays and reviews – are published in Penguin Modern Classics.
Brian Boyd, University Distinguished Professor of English, University of Auckland, has long been associated with the work of Vladimir Nabokov, as annotator, bibliographer, biographer, critic, editor, translator and more. His works have appeared in nineteen languages and won awards on four continents.