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Nabokov’s Berlin

A happy eternal recurrence: on the author’s relationship to fatherhood and time

Ryan Ruby talks to Violet Lucca about Vladimir Nabokov’s Berlin period. He describes seeing Berlin through Nabokov’s eyes and noticing the quotidian texture of the city in the author’s novels from this period. He recalls the birth of his own son, in the same neighborhood where Nabokov’s son, Dmitri, was born, and learning to appreciate Nabokov’s non-linear notion of time, a notion that Ruby believes can help us consecrate everyday life, not just life’s “milestones.” The conversation ends with Ruby’s defense of Lolita, which he argues intentionally re-creates the way art can seduce the reader into excusing immorality. Ruby’s memoir appears in the November issue.

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November 2022

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