Cleaning Nabokov's House: Book summary and reviews of Cleaning Nabokov's House by Leslie Daniels

Cleaning Nabokov's House

A Novel

by Leslie Daniels

Cleaning Nabokov's House by Leslie Daniels
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2011
    336 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

"I knew I could stay in this town when I found the blue enamel pot floating in the lake. The pot led me to the house, the house led me to the book, the book to the lawyer, the lawyer to the whorehouse, the whorehouse to science, and from science I joined the world."

So begins Leslie Daniels's funny and moving novel about a woman's desperate attempt to rebuild her life. When Barb Barrett walks out on her loveless marriage she doesn't realize she will lose everything: her home, her financial security, even her beloved children. Approaching forty with her life in shambles and no family or friends to turn to, Barb must now discover what it means to rely on herself in a stark new emotional landscape.

Guided only by her intense inner voice and a unique entrepreneurial vision, Barb begins to collect the scattered pieces of her life. She moves into a house once occupied by Vladimir Nabokov, author of the controversial masterpiece Lolita, and discovers a manuscript that may be his lost work. As her journey gathers momentum, Barb deepens a connection with her new world, discovering resources in her community and in herself that no one had anticipated. Written in elegant prose with touches of sharp humor and wit, Cleaning Nabokov’s House offers a new vision of modern love and a fervent reminder that it is never too late to find faith in our truest selves.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Despite the curiosities of the grief-to-gumption plot, Daniels's writing is slick and her characters richly detailed, and even when it dips into sheer goofiness, it's still a pleasure to read." - Publishers Weekly

"Daniels writes her story with refreshingly eccentric twists, holding readers' interest despite the time-worn scenario. Her characters live and breathe, and the humor, energy, wit, and edgy look at small-town mores make this a delightful read." - Library Journal

"If this sounds like standard romance, it is and it isn't. The Nabokovian stuff is a feint toward literariness that goes nowhere, and the novel's conceit is by the numbers...But Daniels largely succeeds anyway, thanks to Barb's sardonic, perceptive voice." - Kirkus Reviews

"Cleaning Nabokov's House is original and compelling, the sort of book that keeps a reader on her toes - wildly funny one minute and profoundly sober the next. The protagonist is delightful, the plot a marvelous weave of sex, food, money, and motherhood. Every page a joy." - Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Book Club

"The pleasures of the novel unfold in a series of tantalizing, laugh-out-loud twists. The portrayals are as heartrending as the writing is dead-on funny, and the storytelling is both quirky and captivating. I was swept along like a trout in a clear stream. Bravo." - Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander

"In spite of its odd title, this is a wonderfully original, charming, and funny novel about what to do when your world has turned upside down, and how to get through a long cold rural winter by opening a house of ill repute." - Alison Lurie, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Foreign Affairs

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Leslie Daniels's stories have appeared in Ploughshares, the Missouri Review, the Florida Review, Gulf Coast, the Santa Monica Review, and the New Ohio Review. The Shooting Gallery in New York City produced her one-act play. She has been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize and for the Best of the Associated Writing Programs. In 2005 she became the fiction editor for the Green Mountains Review - she resigned in 2010 to focus on other projects.

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