PLEASE NOTE! This meeting has been moved to Wed., March 2nd due to bad winter weather. Thank you!
Book Beat’s February Reading Group selection is The Real Life of Sebastian Knight by Vladimir Nabokov. The Reading Group will meet on Wednesday, March 2nd at 7pm in the Goldfish Teahouse (117 W 4th St #101, Royal Oak, MI 48067). Reading Group books are discounted 15% at Book Beat. All are welcome!
“One of Nabokov’s hidden masterpieces.”—Michael Dirda, from the introduction
“How uncompromisingly, how brilliantly real Nabokov’s story is.”—New York Times Book Review
The Real Life of Sebastian Knight is Nabokov’s first novel in English, written during his stay in Paris and published in 1941. It is a satire of literary biography and scholarship, purporting to be the true biography of a great writer, the late and neglected Sebastian Knight; it is written by his half brother, V., in response to another biographer’s belittling analysis of Sebastian. Before long, however, V.’s “biography” turns into a mystery story, as he searches for the true facts about Sebastian among Sebastian’s acquaintances. Himself a mediocre writer, V. eventually has a crisis of identity and his search for the real Sebastian becomes a search for himself. The Real Life of Sebastian Knight is a perversely magical literary detective story — subtle, intricate, leading to a tantalizing climax — about the mysterious life of a famous writer.
“The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, like everything he writes, has great beauty and power.”– Flannery O’Connor
“Nabokov writes prose the only way it should be written, that is, ecstatically.” — John Updike
–Check out the first part of an audio edition of The Real Life of Sebastian Knight below:
The Russian born Vladimir Nabokov was one of the most ingenious authors of the 20th century who is known for his originality and accomplishment as a writer. An experimental novelist, Nabokov often played with various forms of novel composition. His works carry a unique element of intrigue and humor with literary allusions, deceiving word games and bizarre incidents. His most famous works Lolita (1955) and Pale Fire (1962) have been ranked number four and fifty-three respectively on the list of Modern Library 100 Best Novels while his memoir Speak, Memory was ranked number eight on the Modern Library nonfiction list. Having already fled Russia and Germany, Nabokov became a refugee once more in 1940, when he was forced to leave France for the United States. There he taught at Wellesley, Harvard, and Cornell. He also gave up writing in Russian and began composing books of criticism. Vladimir Nabokov died in Montreux, Switzerland, in 1977.