Vladimir Nabokov. Hmm hmm, where to start.. His words, they don’t just work together, they dance and sing and occasionally hold hands. I couldn’t possibly write anything decent on him, there are people far more educated and erudite and they write introduction and we read them, don’t we. But could I leave a sketch of a beloved dead (oh I love dead people) writer without a love-letter? By all means! I did so with Raymond Queneau and I shall be murdered in my sleep for such impudence. Anyway, why should I write anything, let me copy-paste this moderately famous passage from Lolita:
“My very photogenic mother died in a freak accident (picnic, lightning) when I was three, and, save for a pocket of warmth in the darkest past, nothing of her subsists within the hollows and dells of memory, over which, if you can still stand my style (I am writing under observation), the sun of my infancy had set: surely, you all know those redolent remnants of day suspended, with the midges, about some hedge in bloom or suddenly entered and traversed by the rambler, at the bottom of a hill, in the summer dusk; a furry warmth, golden midges”.
(Picnic, lightning)! Redolent remnants of day! Ahhh.
Also, there’s a couple of good readings of Nabokov in the New Yorker fiction podcast, including “Signals & Signs.”