Woot! Nabokov’s Lolita is one of my all-time favorite books. This short story doesn’t disappoint. (Interestingly, the protagonist is a lot like the protagonist of Lolita. Deeply depressed, basically. But also not not-funny.)
I love to experience what life was like in the decades before I was born. Some things (yearning to travel, feeling locked in marriage, sitting in a bar, owning a small novelty business) haven’t changed much with time. And other things — trying to ‘get away,’ figure out the meaning of life —haven’t changed at all.
Jeff’s comment is spot-on.
Wretchedness exposed at such a high resolution that the microscopic features of it are almost beautiful. Really great piece.
I SO agree with your comment. Thrilled you read this, as it deserves attention.
I have always heard of Nabokov but have come late to the party. Glad I arrived nonetheless. A master of detail, bleak as they are.
Loved this! Almost got me for a second at the end.