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Despair by Vladimir Nabokov
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1,225136,502 (3.79)21
  1. 00
    Where There's Love, There's Hate by Adolfo Bioy Casares (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Unreliable narrators, packed with literary references, and appear at first to have cliched plots.
  2. 00
    The Prestige by Christopher Priest (Jarandel)
    Jarandel: The presence or absence of doubles leads protagonists to the strangest extremities. Also, unreliable narrators.

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» See also 21 mentions

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A nightmare of a novel that takes us into the mind of another "unreliable narrator." Like many of Nabokov's novels we can never be sure of what we know since it's based on what the narrator tells us - much of which is questionable. What starts out as the seemingly perfect murder becomes the perfect stage for madness. Is it "real" or is it Nabokov? ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
Compared to the intricacy of Pale Fire and Lolita, this is little more than a dress rehearsal for later triumphs (although, in a twist typical of Nabokov, it is actually both an early and late work: see N's preface). The narrative tricks for manipulating the reader are a bit more obvious than in those great novels, and the narrator, one of N's great solipsists, lacks the charm that makes it so easy to forget what vampires Humbert and Kinbote are. But judged as a work of genre fiction, as a novel about a killer who tries to pull off the perfect crime, it's absolutely at the top of its class: one better than the best of Highsmith, I'd say. ( )
  middlemarchhare | Nov 25, 2015 |
In which a self-proclaimed mastermind decides that his discovery of his lookalike is his ticket to pulling off a great criminal enterprise. Hermann Karlovich is one of my favorites of Nabokov's unreliable narrators, and it's great fun sharing his elaborate schemes, dreams, and dismissals of the capacities of all and sundry individuals who might get in his way. Nabokov's language throughout is, no surprise, achingly beautiful. ( )
  Big_Bang_Gorilla | Oct 30, 2013 |
bookshelves: fraudio, published-1934, dodgy-narrator, autumn-2013, lit-richer
Read from August 14 to September 18, 2013


Read (brilliantly) by Christopher Lane

From wiki: originally published as a serial in the politicized literary journal Sovremennye zapiski during 1934. It was then published as a book in 1936, and translated to English by the author in 1937. Most copies of the 1937 English edition were destroyed by German bombs during World War II; only a few copies remain. Nabokov published a second English translation in 1965; this is now the only English translation in print.

narrator: Hermann Karlovich
his wife: Lydia
his business: chocolate
doppelgänger: Felix

setting: Prague
musical backdrop: Tango in Prague - Milonga Prague Castle

5* Pale Fire
4* Sebastian Knight
3* Lolita
3* The Eye
3* Despair
2* Transparent Things

1 like ( )
  mimal | Sep 18, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679723439, Paperback)

Extensively revised by Nabokov in 1965--thirty years after its original publication--Despair is the wickedly inventive and richly derisive story of Hermann, a man who undertakes the perfect crime--his own murder.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:58 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Extensively revised by Nabokov in 1965--thirty years after its original publication--Despair is the wickedly inventive and richly derisive story of Hermann, a man who undertakes the perfect crime--his own murder.

» see all 2 descriptions

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Average: (3.79)
1 5
2 12
2.5 4
3 46
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2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 014118454X, 0141196963

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