Inland Empire
138 Index Cards


Advance PW Review: Nabokov’s ‘The Original of Laura’ - 7/30/2009 8:01:00 AM - Publishers Weekly

Before Nabokov’s death in 1977, he instructed his wife to burn the unfinished first draft—handwritten on 138 index cards—of what would be his final novel. She did not, and the cards have been locked in a Swiss bank vault for the past 30 years. Now, Nabokov’s son, Dmitri, who contributes what could charitably be called a skippable preface, is releasing them to the world, though after reading the book, readers will wonder if the Lolita author is laughing or turning over in his grave.

A sneak peek at Nabokov’s Original of Laura. - By Ron Rosenbaum - Slate Magazine


Instead, there it was, a hefty physical object, truly unusual in more than one respect. Knopf and presumably Dmitri have scanned the 138 index cards and presented them one to a page, in perforated detachable form. There’s a transcription by Dmitri below each card. You could detach the cards and shuffle them if you wanted to, although this form implies more randomness than the careful numbering, renumbering, and lettering V.N. has penciled in on most of the cards suggests. And if you were to remove all the cards, the hardbound book would look like a ghost town with all the windows punched in. But you have to admire the daring: The book’s form will allow readers to hold the cards in their hands the way V.N. must have, at one time or another, as he neared completion of this draft.

Holy. Shit. Holy. Holy. Shit.

I think I disagree with the decision to release this in any fashion, but if you’re set on doing it? Wow, what an amazingly sexy way to put it out there. And non-trivial in terms of production.

Can’t wait to see this.


[photo - n.b. this is Lolita, not Original of Laura; enlarged to show texture; some settling may occur; dilute! dilute!]

  1. ereshkegal reblogged this from bruiseatlas
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  4. rosasay reblogged this from merlin and added:
  5. mayjah reblogged this from merlin and added:
    I do believe I am experiencing a lady boner. Yes, confirmed.
  6. neateater reblogged this from merlin and added:
    long live print, in all its wondrous forms
  7. benjaminpalmer reblogged this from merlin and added:
    this is pretty amazing
  8. merlin posted this