Nabokovilia: Edward St. Aubyn's Lost for Words

"It's lucky Proust or Nabokov aren't competing this year," said Vanessa, "or Henry James, or Tolstoy, or anyone who sold a novel because word got put that it was worth reading, like Dickens or Thackeray, or..."

"All right, all right," said Jo, "we all know you've read every book under the sun, but I think Malcolm has a very good point. If I had my way I would add, 'No pseuds and no aristos.'" (P. 83)

More on Edward St. Aubyn.

Nabokovilia: Martin Amis (The Information and London Fields)

Little by little, bit by bit, I'll be reintroducing bits of Nabokovilia from the old site. Here is the first (additional bits of Martin Amis Nabokovilia available here.)

From The Information:

Even when he was in familiar company (his immediate family, for instance) it sometimes seemed to Richard that those gathered in the room were not quite authentic selves -- that they had gone away and then come back not quite right, half remade or reborn by some blasphemous, backhanded, and above all inexpensive process. In a circus, in a funhouse. All flaky and carny. Not quite themselves. Himself very much included.

He said, 'Is this without interest? Nabokov said he was frankly homosexual in his literary tastes. I don't think men and women write and read in exactly the same way. They go at it differently.'
'And I suppose,' she said, 'that there are racial differences too?'
He didn't answer. For a moment Richard looked worryingly short-necked. He was in fact coping with a digestive matter, or at least he was sitting tight until the digestive matter resolved itself one way or the other.

'But that was... Wasn't that just a maneuver? To avoid a homosexuality scandal," said Richard carefully. 'Advice from Gide. Before Proust went to Gallimard.'

'Nabokov,' suggested Balfour.

'Yeah but that was just a book of love poems. When he was a schoolboy.'

'Nevertheless. Philip Larkin. And of course James Joyce.'

Richard had hated all the poets and novelists too, but the playwrights, the playwrights... With Nabokov, and others, Richard regarded the drama as a primitive and long-exhausted form. The drama boasted Shakespeare (which was an excellent cosmic joke), and Chekhov, and a couple of sepulchral Scandinavians. Then where were you?

From London Fields:

When she arranged this meeting with Guy, over the telephone, Nicola stressed the need for commando or bank-caper synchrony ('Unpunctuality throws me utterly. It's tiresome, I know. The orphanage, perhaps...'); but this didn't stop her keeping him waiting for a good fifteen minutes ('Please, sit down!' she called from the bedroom. 'I do apologize'). She needed fifteen minutes. One to envelope her bikini in a plain white cotton dress. Another to give the bedclothes a fantastic worrying. What was the delightful phrase in Lolita: the guilty dissaray of hotel linen suggesting and ex-convicts saturnalia with a couple of fat old whores? The rest of the time Nicola needed for make-up...