Speak, Little Failure: Nabokov in Gary Shteyngart's Memoir

Nabokov makes a number of appearances in Gary Shteyngart's Little Failure, a funny, deft, super awesome memoir:

I twirled the pages of the monumental Architecture of the Tsars, examining all those familiar childhood landmarks, feeling the vulgar nostalgia, the poshlost' Nabokov so despised. Here was the General Staff Arch with its twisted perspectives giving out onto the creamery of Palace Square, the creamery of the Winter Palace as seen fro the glorious spike of the Admiralty as seen from the creamery of the Winter Palace, the Winter Palace and the Admiralty as seen from atop a beer truck, and so on in an endless tourist whirlwind. (7)

In 1999 I am employed as a grant writer for a Lower East Side charity, and the woman I'm sleeping with has a boyfriend who isn't sleeping with her. I've returned to St. Petersburg to be carried away by a Nabokovian torrent of memory for a country that no longer exists, desperate to find out if the metro still has the comforting smells of rubber, electricity, and unwashed humanity that I remember sop well. (15)

As I am being tossed up and down by the many weak Oberlin arms, am I thinking of the book I have just read -- Nabokov's Speak, Memory -- in which Vladimir Vladimirovich's nobleman father is being ceremonially tossed in the air by the peasants of his country estate after he has adjudicated one of their peasant disputes? (261)

The nostalgia that Nabokov thinks is vulgar poshlost', but that we as boys of nineteen and twenty are not yet ready to dismiss out of hand? (263)

And I am standing there holding my hand as a bearded, academic-looking man walks a set of Welsh corgis down State Street, a mirror of some earlier time and place -- summer break, North Carolina -- that should have pleased the early Nabokov so. (302)