Vladimir Nabokov

Vladimir Nabokov was a Russian-American novelist, poet, translator, and entomologist. He was born on April 22, 1899, in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and later became a naturalized American citizen. Nabokov wrote in both Russian and English, and his works are celebrated for their complex structure, inventive language, and richly layered narratives. He is best known for his novel 'Lolita' (1955), which is often cited as one of the greatest novels of the 20th century. Nabokov's other notable works include 'Pale Fire' (1962) and 'Speak, Memory' (1951), an autobiographical memoir. He passed away on July 2, 1977, in Montreux, Switzerland.

Books

This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. Lolita

    The novel tells the story of Humbert Humbert, a man with a disturbing obsession for young girls, or "nymphets" as he calls them. His obsession leads him to engage in a manipulative and destructive relationship with his 12-year-old stepdaughter, Lolita. The narrative is a controversial exploration of manipulation, obsession, and unreliable narration, as Humbert attempts to justify his actions and feelings throughout the story.

  2. 2. Pale Fire

    The novel is a unique blend of fiction, commentary, and poetry, presented as a 999-line poem written by a fictional poet, followed by an extensive commentary and foreword by his neighbor and academic colleague. The novel blurs the line between reality and fiction, as the commentator's notes reveal an alternative narrative, one of exile, intrigue, and murder. The book is a playful exploration of authorship, deception, and the nature of art.

  3. 3. Speak, Memory

    "Speak, Memory" is an autobiographical memoir that explores the author's life from his birth in 1899 to his emigration to the United States in 1940. The narrative details his privileged childhood in Russia, his experiences during the Russian Revolution, his time in Europe as an émigré, and his career as a writer and scholar. The book is noted for its intricate descriptions, its exploration of the nature of memory, and its intricate linguistic play.

  4. 4. Ada or Ardor

    Set in an alternate universe where Earth is known as "Antiterra," the novel follows the lives of Ada and Van, two wealthy siblings who fall into a passionate and incestuous love affair. Their relationship evolves over a span of 70 years, as they navigate through family secrets, personal tragedies, and the complex nature of time. The book is a blend of romance, science fiction, and philosophical exploration, all told through the author's signature wordplay and intricate narrative style.

  5. 5. Invitation To A Beheading

    "Invitation To A Beheading" is a surreal and philosophical novel that follows the life of Cincinnatus C., a man sentenced to death in a totalitarian society for his perceived crime of being different. As Cincinnatus awaits his execution, he navigates a bizarre and absurd world filled with strange characters, dreamlike sequences, and a constant questioning of reality. Through his introspective journey, the novel explores themes of identity, freedom, and the power of the individual against oppressive systems.

  6. 6. The Real Life of Sebastian Knight

    "The Real Life of Sebastian Knight" is a novel centered around the protagonist's quest to understand and write a biography about his deceased half-brother, a famous author. However, as he delves deeper into his brother's life, he encounters numerous obstacles and confusions, including misleading information, false leads, and the challenge of distinguishing between the man and his literary persona. Ultimately, the protagonist's journey becomes a profound exploration of identity, truth, and the blurred line between fiction and reality.

  7. 7. Pnin

    The novel is about a Russian émigré, Timofey Pnin, who is a professor at an American college. Pnin struggles with the complexities of life, language, and American culture, while dealing with the traumas of his past in Russia. The book is a series of loosely connected episodes, filled with humor, pathos, and Pnin's endearing confusion. His struggles and triumphs in academia and his search for a home and identity form the crux of the story.

  8. 8. The Gift

    "The Gift" is a novel that tells the story of Fyodor, a Russian émigré living in Berlin, who is struggling to establish himself as a writer. The book explores his life, love, and the process of writing, along with his relationships with his fellow Russian émigrés. The narrative also delves into Fyodor's admiration for his father, a renowned explorer who mysteriously disappeared on an expedition. The novel is a profound examination of the creative process, the expatriate experience, and the power of art.

  9. 9. The Luzhin Defense

    The novel centers around a Russian chess prodigy whose life becomes consumed by the game of chess. As he rises to international fame, his obsession with chess leads to a detachment from reality and a decline in his personal life. The protagonist's intense focus on chess strategies begins to invade his perception of the world, blurring the boundaries between the game and his own existence. This culminates in a psychological crisis during a critical championship match, where the line between his mental breakdown and a sophisticated defense strategy becomes indistinguishable, reflecting the protagonist's struggle to maintain his sanity amidst the all-consuming nature of his passion.

  10. 10. Despair

    The novel revolves around a man who encounters his doppelgänger and becomes obsessed with the striking resemblance between them. This obsession leads him to concoct an elaborate scheme involving identity exchange and insurance fraud. As the protagonist meticulously plans what he believes to be the perfect crime, his narrative becomes increasingly unreliable, revealing his descent into madness. The story unfolds through a complex structure of layered storytelling, blending reality with the protagonist's delusions, and culminates in a darkly ironic twist that challenges the reader's perception of truth and fiction.

  11. 11. The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov

    This collection showcases the unique storytelling abilities of a renowned author, exploring a variety of themes and settings through 65 different tales. The stories range from brief, whimsical observations and elaborate fantasies to deeply emotional narratives and intellectual puzzles. The author's distinctive style, marked by rich imagery, intricate plots, and playful language, is evident throughout, making the collection a testament to his literary prowess and creativity.