Vladimir Nabokov’s Unfinished Novel in Playboy

By Jason Boog Comment

nabakov2323.jpgWith the world buzzing about Sarah Palin’s new memoir and Stephenie Meyer’s new adaptation, its easy to forget the other major literary event this week–the release of Vladimir Nabokov’s unfinished novel, “The Original of Laura.”

If you want to read an excerpt, you won’t find the book on the Oprah Winfrey Show or at the multiplex. You need to go to Playboy, the magazine that everybody reads for the literary excerpts. The magazine gave GalleyCat that image from the print magazine excerpt–showing the choice the great writer’s son had between burning or publishing the unfinished book.

Here’s an excerpt that seems fairly safe for work: “[Nabokov] started writing it in 1975 and persisted while hospitalized the few months before his death in 1977. He relied on his signature creative approach (the note cards included here are testament to that), but the book was never finished. In this event, he asked that the draft be destroyed. That we are able to publish a portion of it today is a privilege and a relief to admirers, biographers and readers of every stripe, but that it would survive was never a certainty.”