Sighting: Maxim Shrayer on Five Nabokov Books

Pnin is the immigrant of Nabokov’s American novels. The main character is a Russian professor at an American college, and the novel is to a large extent about Russian culture misunderstood by Westerners. But it is also a truncated love story with a moral dilemma. Pnin himself is not Jewish but Mira, once Pnin’s beloved, is Jewish, and she died in Buchenwald. The story is punctuated by the tension of his trying to forget and being incapable of unremembering. Nabokov was one of the very first American writers to write extensively about the Shoah in a work of fiction. Nabokov wrote Pnin in the 1950s and parts of it were published in the New Yorker, so it is astounding how far ahead of his literary contemporaries Nabokov was in his thinking about the Shoah and how it might be remembered and memorialised.
Read the rest at Five Books. (Via the Nabokv-L forum.)