Literary Disco Enters the
Julia Pistell, Rider Strong, and Tod Goldberg Discuss the Much-Discussed Nabokov Novel
On the episode of Literary Disco, Julia Pistell, Rider Strong, and Tod Goldberg discuss Vladimir Nabokov’s 1962 novel Pale Fire, less popular than Lolita, but no less complicated, with its own rabid fan base.
Today’s episode is sponsored by Hingston & Olsen, the makers of the Short Story Advent Calendar. Order your copy today, from shortstoryadventcalendar.com, and enter the promo code LITERARYDISCO at checkout to get 10% off your purchase.
From the episode:
Julia: This book would have been my favorite book 20 years ago. When was the last time I read some weirdly structured yet exquisitely written book?
Rider: He’s one of those writers I love because I’m constantly looking up words while I’m reading. Not because I have to, but because I want to. There are obviously words that I don’t know or words that I think I kind of know, but because they are so strangely used in this context I have to look them up. I enjoy the process of every couple of pages, being like, “What? You used that word? What does that even mean?”
Julia: Did you notice that the commentary starts doing that at certain points?
Tod: Also, the index is not just an index, but an index written by Charles Kinbote, which is crazy.
Rider: On so many levels.
Tod: And you’ll be reading something and think that it is some dry recitation of fact about the different lives of people who didn’t really exist, and then you realize that you are being profoundly fucked with by the narrator of this book. If you skim a single line, you will lose hours of reading time within it. There’s so much in it, and it’s a book you have to read extraordinarily carefully.
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