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The Defense by Vladimir Nabokov
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The Defense (1930)

by Vladimir Nabokov

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (14)  Hebrew (1)  Galician (1)  French (1)  All languages (17)
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
Nabokov's The Defense is the story of Luzhin, who even as a child, is slightly odd. His oddness becomes less of a flaw, though he is not really aware of this oddness, when he discovers his true calling--chess. We follow him through his life going from chess prodigy to chess master, from his parents' estate in Russia to his odd marriage to a Russian emigre in Berlin. His life is one chess problem after another, so much so that he cannot separate his own existence from the game itself. And so we follow his game to its inevitable and terrifying conclusion. Wonderfully and frighteningly well told story of madness. ( )
  Marse | Feb 13, 2014 |
An awkward and unusual boy grows into an awkward and unusual chess champion. This is an early Russian novel of Nabokov's, translated with his help, and while it is not as deeply probing or as refined as his later English work, it features his trademark prose and his dream-like fascination with obsession, disconnection and tragedy. Bonus chess metaphors made this a no-brainer for me - I always get more interested in chess during the winter. ( )
  ApollosCrow | Apr 3, 2013 |
Nabokov é infalível.
Adoro como ele fala dos livros que lemos quando jovens, e aos quais acrescentamos tantas cores e tantos detalhes que, anos depois, os originais nos parecem versões resumidas. Como Luzhin que, após a crise, não consegue mais encontrar as versões integrais de livros do Conan Doyle e do Jules Verne. ( )
  JuliaBoechat | Mar 30, 2013 |
Great portrait of madness. Nabokov hates Freudians, and displays that hatred by not really providing a shred of evidence as to the cause of Luzhin's madness. His playing throughout the book with chess themes is wonderful, almost a game trying to catch them all. ( )
  hmessing | May 7, 2012 |
Wonderful book. Probably the greatest novel completely centered on chess. ( )
  BooksForDinner | Oct 3, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
In these early novels of Nabokov's, one sees the later complexities often in surprisingly well-developed form, and they are interesting for that reason. But they have, in addition, a special charm of their own. Nabokov's world is not austerely intellectual (like the worlds conceived by Borges). It is haunted by certain memories of nineteenth-century baroque (a memory of mad King Ludwig, a melody of overwrought Schumann, something rhapsodic and rotten).
added by jburlinson | editNew York Review of Books, Robert M. Adams (pay site) (Jan 14, 1965)
 

» Add other authors (28 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nabokov, Vladimirprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Scammell, MichaelTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
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What struck him most was the fact that from Monday on he would be Luzhin.
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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Nelle prefazioni all'edizione inglese dei miei romanzi russi scritte di recente (e ce ne sono altre in arrivo) mi sono imposto la regola di rivolgere qualche parola d'incoraggiamento alla delegazione viennese. La presente non farà eccezione. Analisti e analizzati apprezzeranno, spero, alcuni particolari del trattamento a cui Luzin viene sottoposto a seguito dell'esaurimento nervoso (quali l'insinuazione terapeutica che un giocatore di scacchi vede la Mamma nella regina e il Papà nel re dell'avversario), e il freudiano in erba che scambia un grimaldello da lucchetto per la chiave di un romanzo continuerà senz'altro a identificare i miei personaggi con la propria nozione fumettistica dei miei genitori, delle mie amichette e dei miei molteplici ego.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679727221, Paperback)

Nabokov's third novel, The Luzhin Defense, is a chilling story of obsession and madness. As a young boy, Luzhin was unattractive,  distracted, withdrawn, sullen--an enigma to his parents and an object of ridicule to his classmates. He takes up chess as a refuge from the anxiety of his everyday life.  His talent is prodigious and he rises to the rank of grandmaster--but at a cost:  in Luzhin' s obsessive mind, the game of chess gradually supplants the world of reality.   His own world falls apart during a crucial championship match, when the intricate defense he has devised withers  under his opponent's unexpected and unpredictabke lines of assault.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:35:30 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

As a young boy, Luzhin was unattractive, distracted, withdrawn, sullen--an enigma to his parents and an object of ridicule to his classmates. He takes up chess as a refuge from the anxiety of his everyday life. His talent is prodigious and he rises to the rank of grandmaster--but at a cost: in Luzhin' s obsessive mind, the game of chess gradually supplants the world of reality. His own world falls apart during a crucial championship match, when the intricate defense he has devised withers under his opponent's unexpected and unpredictable lines of assault.… (more)

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