Reading Vladimir Nabokov's six-hundred page magnum opus, Ada
, is much like climbing to the top of a monument, say, Washington, D.C.'s famous obelisk, or Prague's Astronomical Clock Tower: the steep, vertiginous ascent ultimately pays off in a breathtaking view of the landscape below, a landscape you have traversed within the twin cocoons of stairwell and elevator, or in this case, sentence and paragraph, to reach a glorious summit. In other words, it's not a beach read. Cynthia Zarin's bold collection inspired by this tome weighs in at a mere 55 pages of poems, but it stands as its own achievement in its lush distillation of Nabokov's pet themes: time, memory, passion, and the triumph of artifice over fact.
One of the great pleasures of The Ada Poems
is its rich imagery firmly based in the sensual world: references to trees, flowers, jewels, animals, insects,...
Beyond the Book
Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle
, by Vladimir Nabokov,
was published in 1969. It tells the story of two lovers, Van and Ada Veen, who meet as teenagers, believing they are cousins; they later find out they share the same mother and father. It takes place in the late 19th century in the imaginary Antiterra - a kind of alternative Earth. Upon its publication, The New York Times
called it "a love story, an erotic masterpiece, a philosophical investigation into the nature of time."
Read more about Ada:
- New York Times review
- Wikipedia page
- The geography of...