I just finished Ada by Vladimir Nabokov. Perhaps I am a bit of a Puritan in my reading preferences. So although the author really attempts to present Ada and Van as sympathetic characters, for me the author’s efforts were in vain. I just can’t get behind incest. (That sounds like a really off the wall bumper sticker.)
I appreciated how richly the characters were drawn. In fact, that’s one of the things I liked best about the book. However, the intensity of the characters didn’t mean I liked them a whole lot. I found Van too navel gazing and slimy, especially how he goes after women, and Ada is way too uptight.
Here comes the embarrassing part where I admit what I didn’t understand. I didn’t get the whole Terra/Antiterra business. I don’t understand where the novel took place. And those 20ish pages toward the end reflecting on time (or Time, as the author calls it)? Yeah, I really just skimmed those pages. (Hey, if you’re going to write a 589 page novel and stick in that many pages of stuff that totally doesn't advance the plot at the very end, don’t expect me to read them in detail! I have 1001 books to get through!)
This all seems kind of negative, but I am glad I read it. The first part of the book that takes place at Ardis is beautifully written. (I almost wish he had stopped there.) The alliteration throughout the book is cool too. It’s definitely an interesting book and I certainly wouldn’t have found or read it on my own without the 1001 books list!
Next up: Marissa has Adam Bede which I will try to get through when I visit next week (yay!) and I’m about to try to hunt down Adjunct: An Undigest.