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Download ADA, or Ardor epub

Download ADA, or Ardor epub
ISBN: 0685265293
ISBN13: 978-0685265291
Category: Literature
Subcategory: United States
Language: English
Publisher: Vintage Books USA
ePUB size: 1388 kb
FB2 size: 1923 kb
Rating: 4.3
Votes: 531
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This time Nabokov’s pet theme of true, lasting, first, yet socially-unacceptable love comes in the form of an incestuous relationship that lasts from the character’s adolescence until their nineties. The characters repeatedly reference Proust, which is fitting, as the book is obviously a paean to that author. It’s written in the form of a manuscript that has been edited by the two main characters—they have conversations in the margins about what should stay or go. This is the first time that I noticed the similarities between Nabokov and Gunter Grass in the way they handle the earthier aspects of their characters’ lives, but if you like this I'd recommend Grass' The Tin Drum.
This masterwork towers above the towering. Like the perpetually-misunderstood "Lolita," it appears to be a simple raunchy novel told in flashback form, but as it progresses, it reveals itself to be an immensely insightful study of the nature of time and reality. Most importantly for the modern reader, it offers a thorough critique of the Theory of Relativity. In the same way that Nabokov dissected Freudism, Boasian anthropology, and Critical Theory, "Ada, or Ardor..." is a pristine presentation of not only human nature, but of the fundamentals of the 20th and 21st-century economic religions.
Nabokov’s Ada is at times sublime, at other times silly. It is both a soaring accomplishment, and a bit of a scam. It is a bit of everything, and reviewing it is difficult.

This is a novel that defies easy categories. It is a family novel, a tale of life-long erotic love and incest, an alternate history, a romp through language - this novel has them all in abundance.

In Ada, Nabokov's imaginative capacities are on full display. The characters in this novel live in a world called Antiterra. Yet some have visions of a place called Terra, which closely resembles our earth and our history. Van Veen, a psychiatrist, studies these visions. He does not believe in the physical reality of Terra, but he still ponders the meaning of this world. In this passage, both Veen and Nabokov come as close as possible to summarizing this maddening, complex novel:

“He wondered what really kept him alive on terrible Antiterra, with Terra a myth and all art a game, when nothing mattered any more since the day he slapped Valerio’s warm bristly cheek; and whence, from what deep well of hope, did he still scoop up a shivering star, when everything had an edge of agony and despair, when another man was in every bedroom with Ada.”

Ada proves something I have always believed: the extreme plasticity of this form we call the novel. There are seemingly an infinite number of permutations the novel can take; Ada, despite its challenges, is certainly a prime example of one of its more imaginative forms.
This tragic story of love and obsession is written as if it is the true life memoir of fictional character Van Veen. V.V. is a Russian-American aristocrat born to extreme wealth in the late 1800's on a fictional world called Antiterra. Antiterra is almost identical to Earth, except for minor details, such as the place names are different and some conveniences such as airplanes, telephones, and motion pictures were in existence as early as 1884.
That fateful year of 1884 provides the novel with its chief building block. Our narrator spent that summer, his 15th, at his aunt's summer house, Ardis, where he and his 12 year old cousin Ada Veen ended up falling in love with the mad insatiable passion that is typical for teenagers. Shortly after falling in love, though, the pair learns that due to a much more complex family tree than either initially realized, they are actually brother and sister casting a tragic shadow over their intoxicating relationship.
These facts are presented to us, although obscurely, within the first 30 pages of the 589 page book, so don't think that I have just given away any key plot points here. In fact, this novel is all about Van and Ada's refusal (or inability) to ever grow out of their idyllic, though incestuous, summertime romance. The summer of 1884 grows to haunt the rest of their lives, and this book for the most part is the story of that haunting.
The story is remarkable and for those who end up getting emotionally involved in the story, it is the type of novel that will seep into your soul unlike just about any book you may ever read. Unfortunately, a highly complex writing style is likely to act a a very major hurdle that will prevent a lot of people from ever getting through the book. Nabokov fills his novel with many extremely long sentences, complex parentheticals, and a sometimes confusing chronological structure. If you aren't ready to pay attention to what you are reading, then this book is likely to simply confuse you to the point of frustration.
Personally, I read this book while on a week-long beach vacation in Hawaii. It was the perfect setting, because my mind was gloriously free of distraction and I was able to spend the time necessary to digest what I was reading. Being on a beach, however, meant that I was not able to look up every single odd word I came across or investigate all the literary allusions the author included in the book. If you are reading about this book, you are sure to learn that the book is extremely dense with such allusions. I am happy to report that one need not get bogged down with tracking down such literary references in order to appreciate this book.
To find out if the book is right for you, luckily, you only really have to read the first 3 or 4 chapters. The first chapter is typical of the author's densest most complex style. It is a great first chapter, but it will likely take much time and effort to fully comprehend. The second and third chapters are a bit more straightforward and are a very good representation of how most of the rest of the book reads. In my case, after reading the first chapter, I was drawn in because it was exactly the kind of complex writing I was looking for.
There is a lot of French and Russian used throughout the book. In the Vintage paperback edition, there are helpful end notes that provide translations for most of the crucial foreign language passages. I found my knowledge of French to be quite helpful, though, because a lot of the incidental French is not translated. Luckily almost all the Russian in the book is translated in the text itself, so those passages ultimately are not a problem at all.
Suffice it to say that this book is filled with literary wordplay and many puzzles to solve. If that is your cup of tea, then you are likely to love this book. Even if you do not pursue answers to all the literary puzzles presented in the book, you can still be rewarded with an emotionally complex epic tale that at the very least is going to provide you with some very serious food for thought.
If you are like me, however, this book will also provide you with one of the most moving and emotionally harrowing stories you may ever come across. I can't remember feeling so satisfied after finishing a book, nor can I ever remembering finishing a book so ready to re-read it. I recommend it highly.
There's no need to repeat what others have said about the novel. However, the notes at the end of the book are one way links. You can follow links from the notes to the passages, but there are no linked footnotes enabling the reader to reach the notes as the book is read. This is unfortunate because the French and Russian phrases are translated in the notes. But how to reach them? There are also brief explanations about allusions, anagrams, and such. But again, they can only be accessed easily retroactively, after the reader has completed the novel.
This is a great work of literature. Nabokov writes about an incestous love between siblings. Don't be annoyed when he writes in a foreign language and doesn't translate the passage.