Pale Fire, by Nabokov Rothdas book review RSS
4.0 Stars

Enough has been said about this book elsewhere that I'm not sure I need to elaborate on it too much. The first time I read this was about ~15 years ago, and I loved it at the time. And I still kind of love it? There are sentences and paragraphs that just make me laugh for the pleasure of how perfect they are. The writing and structure of the book are simply brilliant. And when I say brilliant, I do not mean brilliant in my usual "desperate-search-for-adjectives" kind of way. It really is just genius level thinking that went into the creation of this story. Still, I wasn't as motivated/entranced when reading this a second time, since a large part of the pleasure of the book is unwrapping/decoding what is happening. And since I had already unwrapped the main part of the book, the things that are left to unwrap are the smaller and more minor puzzles, and to really do that I would need to start taking notes or reading other people's commentary on the text. And I'm not sure I want to commit quite that much time or go quite that meta. :)

One thing I did appreciate the second time around was how the commentary actually makes me appreciate the poem more. Initially, I did not particularly like poem that is the heart of the book (the constant rhyming throws me off and feels a little silly?), and I skipped over parts of the poem when I first came across it at the start of the book. However, the negative/acidic commentary makes a nice contrast to the poem, and helps me appreciate the poem more.

Anyway, if you enjoyed Pale Fire, I would also recommend its more modern incarnation: