Friday, April 08, 2005

"Signs and Symbols" by Vladimir Nabokov

An elderly couple, recent immigrants to America, go to see their mentally imbalanced son in his asylum, but discover that he has once again tried to take his own life. Dejected, they return home to contemplate their loss... and then the phone rings. It sounds simple, and it is--but isn't. Read by Scoot.

In our minds the greatest writer of the twentieth and almost any other century, Vladimir Nabokov was himself an émigré from Russia to America, where he wrote this story in English, a language he had excelled in since childhood. If you've read Lolita, don't stop there, and don't ignore his short stories, where some of his best writing lies. At the very least, this small story definitely disproves the idea that he was a cold, detached writer.

1 comment:

Majaz said...

Absolutely brilliant story. Explains paranoid schizophrenia or a person with a paranoid personality disorder so accurately and yet in such a beautifully lyrical manner, one cannot help but be thoroughly impressed.