To the Editors:
In her article on Vladimir Nabokov (“Vladimir Nabokov: Ardor and Art,” March, 1987), Fernanda Eberstadt does an excellent job sorting out his best work from his weakest work. She is well aware that in some respects Nabokov is the worst guide to his work, since he was inordinately fond of linguistic gimmicks. But, at his best, as in Pale Fire, which Eberstadt rightly says is his best novel, Nabokov uses his trickery to powerful expressive effect. The novel is very moving, unlike Ada, which is a self-indulgent bore. All too often Nabokov has been interpreted by critics who take Nabokov’s Joycean games much too seriously. What Nabokov needed was a critic who could distinguish between mere trickery and tricks used to support a powerful and moving plot, as is the case with Pale Fire. Eberstadt’s piece is simply the best introduction to this dazzling but uneven writer that I’ve ever read.

 

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