Nabokov V. Pale Fire

The urbane authority Vladimir Nabokov brought to every word he ever wrote, and the ironic amusement he cultivated in response to being uprooted and politically exiled twice in his life, never found fuller expression than in Pale Fire, in some ways a valedictory to his native land. An ingeniously constructed parody of detective fiction, learned commentary, and the annals of madness, this story of the poet John Shade and his demented Slavic exegete and worshipper achieves that rarest of things in literature – a perfect tragicomic balance.

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