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Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle (1969)

por Vladimir Nabokov

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4,008653,014 (4.08)2 / 168
Published two weeks after Vladimir Nabokov's seventieth birthday, Ada, or Ardor is one of his greatest masterpieces, the glorious culmination of his career as a novelist. It tells a love story troubled by incest, but it is also at once a fairy tale, epic, philosophical treatise on the nature of time, parody of the history of the novel, and erotic catalogue. Ada, or Ardor is no less than the supreme work of an imagination at white heat. This is the first American edition to include the extensive and ingeniously sardonic appendix by the author, written under the anagrammatic pseudonym Vivian Darkbloom. One of the twentieth century's master prose stylists, Vladimir Nabokov was born in St. Petersburg in 1899. He studied French and Russian literature at Trinity College, Cambridge, then lived in Berlin and Paris, where he launched a brilliant literary career. In 1940 he moved to the United States, and achieved renown as a novelist, poet, critic, and translator. He taught literature at Wellesley, Stanford, Cornell, and Harvard. In 1961 he moved to Montreux, Switzerland, where he died in 1977. "Nabokov writes prose the only way it should be written, that is, ecstatically." --John Updike… (mais)
Adicionado recentemente porbiblioteca privada, -Rinehart-, LlibredePaper, WisJohnson, cansat, knoww, latellbr, teenybeanie25
Bibliotecas LegadasGillian Rose, Terence Kemp McKenna
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This is without doubt the most Nabokov that Nabokov ever Nabokoved. The length of the novel, almost 600 pages, easily his longest, assists that claim while harming the novel itself, ultimately sinking it under a plethora of prattling palaver. For Nabokov, always somewhat a fantasist, completely loses touch with reality in both his characters and his prose, failing to fulfill the winking promise, creditably delivered up to then, actually, that he makes 250 pages into the novel, in a description of a dinner party,
A faint element of farce and falsity flawed it, preventing an angel - if angels could visit Ardis - from being completely at ease; and yet it was a marvelous show which no artist would have wanted to miss.

Nabokov's intellectualism, allusive genius, and inexhaustible wordplay involving three languages are the features of the novel, the "marvelous show" his ego would have assured the world it wouldn't want to miss. The details of the book's plot and action are farce and falsity: the antiworld it takes place on, contra the mythical real world of "Terra"; the seduction of 12 year old Ada by her 14 year old brother Van, and their lifelong love story; Ada's "240-something" IQ matched by Van's own intelligence; the abusive and hysteric behavior not matched by any real consequences. All a fantasy of Nabokov's mind given free indulgence.

The first half of the book, featuring the young and adolescent Ada and Van, was mostly enjoyable, despite the hard work of following the allusions and wordplay (did I mention it's in 3 languages?) on most every page, possibly because children, even in contexts of "farce and falsity", are more sympathetic than adults, and possibly because my patience as a reader was not yet overly fatigued. In the last few hundred pages however my patience with the characters and prose waned as they accumulated time's additions. Van is a truly revolting character in most all respects; one hopes for Vera's sake that he was not modeled too closely on his author. ( )
  lelandleslie | Feb 24, 2024 |
Just about anyone who enjoys fiction is aware of Nabokov's Lolita. It's considered his most famous and controversial novel. It's totally understandable that a novel depicting a "love" affair between a 38 year old man and a 12 year old girl would cause a sensation. What I don't understand is why this novel is so obscure. Like Lolita, it involves a 12 year old girl (Ada) engaged in a torrid love affair. Only, this time the other player in the affair (Van) is a 14 year old boy. Believe me this more than puppy love. These two go at it like bunnies ! And oh yeah, to make things more interesting, they are half brother and sister, as well as full cousins. Not enough spice for you ? A few years go by, and Ada seduces her little sister. But wait, some girl on girl; that's not enough to satisfy Ada. She then engages the little sister in some three way action with Van ! Like I said earlier I simply don't understand my this novel isn't better known.
( )
  kevinkevbo | Jul 14, 2023 |
47. Ada or Ardor : A Family Chronicle by Vladimir Nabokov
published: 1969
format: 589-page 1969-edition hardcover
acquired: 2011 – from my in-laws collection
read: Sep 19 – Oct 12
time reading: 26:25, 2.7 mpp
rating: 4
locations: Antiterra – an alternate world with an America heavily influenced by Russians and Russian culture
about the author: 1899 – 1977. Russia born, educated at Trinity College in Cambridge, 1922. Lived in Berlin (1922-1937), Paris, the US (1941-1961) and Montreux, Switzerland (1961-1977).

An excerpt from [Beowulf on the Beach], (about [Lolita], which is praised): "...I think Nabokov is overrated... One of my most literary friends told me that Nabokov's novel Ada is among her favorite books, so I "read" it, if pedaling the square-wheeled trike of his prose can be called reading. And I said to her, "You really like this book? What about the 'rhythm'? Didn't it clunk and stagger like a besotted Cossack?" "I guess you're right," she said, "I just liked it for the incest."

This is not a book on the sin of incest. It's a romantic incest, insatiable. And outside our world. Nabokov creates a world that is parallel to ours but different…and happens to be a lot like Nabokov‘s privileged childhood world was. This is an America full of indulgent landowners of households run by all-knowing, psychological damaged but mostly loyal servants. And these well-educated landowners speak in a mixture of English, French (untranslated) and Russian (translated, but probably playfully). So things happen out of sequence with real history. They discuss Proust in the 1880's, and technologies are a little different ours in timing and style. It's main purpose seemed to me to be to allow Nabokov to make things anyway he wanted that was convenient. But philosophically there are games, especially with time, memory and imagination and their interplay.

Ultimately we never really know what happened to Van Veen. He writes this book in 3rd person looking back at the lifelong incestual love of his life, and all its rewards and bitter disappointments. But he's our only source. And he fill his version with playful literary references and linguistic games.

I read the first roughly 80 pages and understood nothing that was going on and loved it. I can't place why, but it was romantic and Nabokov can do some things. But the sex starts and Nabokov can't stop. For large chunks of this book, that, the sex, was not only continuously prevalent and the entire focus, but seemed to be the only reasonable purpose. Plodding through pages and pages of this I got tired and bored. I pick up other books...and that's when this one called and I realized I liked this. It's an oddly endearing parody, and the tone of this parody has a hard to place awkward comfort. I finished the book feeling much better about it, and its ideas and purpose, than I did in that middle section. So, mixed recommendation at best.

(side note - Nabokov's influence on Thomas Pynchon is really clear here, especially that "square-wheeled trike" prose.)

2021
https://www.librarything.com/topic/333774#7629959 ( )
1 vote dchaikin | Oct 17, 2021 |
600 pages so heavily freighted with information that I, a person of average intelligence, was in no way capable of absorbing, organizing, or recalling. The textual density does thin somewhat about 300 pages in, though by then you're encountering names and places that will send you back into the preceding pages--an ebook version proved an invaluable aid. Also invaluable is Brian Boyd's annotated edition that is freely available online (I wish a print version could be published, similar to the Annotated Lolita). Unfortunately, Boyd's freely available annotations cease with Part 2, Chapter 3, and after that the annotations are only available to subscribers of the Nabokovian.The novel is at least as shocking as Lolita. I will be rereading this one. On an unrelated note, I kept wondering if Wes Anderson is a Nabokov fan. ( )
2 vote gtross | Jul 30, 2021 |
Good writer but not a geat book; self-indulgent. Probably somewhat autobiographical but includes too many situations of little interest except apparently to himself and a few friends. Too much Russian and French with wordplay therein of little use unless you speak those languages. Some sense of a journal written for his personal amusement. ( )
1 vote KENNERLYDAN | Jul 11, 2021 |
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At Cornell University, Vladimir Nabokov would always begin his first lecture by saying, "Great novels are above all great fairy tales . . . literature does not tell the truth but makes it up." "Ada," Nabokov's 15th novel, is a great fairy tale, a supremely original work of the imagination. Appearing two weeks after his 70th birthday, it provides further evidence that he is a peer of Kafka, Proust and Joyce, those earlier masters of totally unique universes of fiction. "Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle" (its full title) spans 100 years. It is a love story, an erotic masterpiece, a philosophical investigation into the nature of time.
 

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Published two weeks after Vladimir Nabokov's seventieth birthday, Ada, or Ardor is one of his greatest masterpieces, the glorious culmination of his career as a novelist. It tells a love story troubled by incest, but it is also at once a fairy tale, epic, philosophical treatise on the nature of time, parody of the history of the novel, and erotic catalogue. Ada, or Ardor is no less than the supreme work of an imagination at white heat. This is the first American edition to include the extensive and ingeniously sardonic appendix by the author, written under the anagrammatic pseudonym Vivian Darkbloom. One of the twentieth century's master prose stylists, Vladimir Nabokov was born in St. Petersburg in 1899. He studied French and Russian literature at Trinity College, Cambridge, then lived in Berlin and Paris, where he launched a brilliant literary career. In 1940 he moved to the United States, and achieved renown as a novelist, poet, critic, and translator. He taught literature at Wellesley, Stanford, Cornell, and Harvard. In 1961 he moved to Montreux, Switzerland, where he died in 1977. "Nabokov writes prose the only way it should be written, that is, ecstatically." --John Updike

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