With sly sophistication and ebullient charm, Lila Azam Zanganeh shares the intoxication of delirious joy to be found in reading - in particular, in reading the masterpieces of 'the great writer of happiness' Vladimir Nabokov.
Plunging into the enchanted and luminous worlds of Speak, Memory; Ada, or Ardor; and the infamous Lolita, Zanganeh seeks out the Nabokovian experience of time, memory, sexual passion, nature, loss, love in all its forms, language in all its allusions. She explores his geography - his Russian childhood, his European sojourns, the landscapes of 'his' America - suffers encounters with his beloved 'nature' hallucinates an interview with the master, and seeks the 'crunch of happiness' in his singular vocabulary. This rhapsodic and beautifully illuminated book will both reignite the passion of experienced lovers of Nabokov's work, and lure the innocent reader to a well of delights.
'Happiness writes white - it doesn't show up on the page,' said Henri de Montherlant. This is an aphorism that sounds true but isn't, and the work of Vladimir Nabokov, as Lila Azam Zanganeh so lightly and elegantly shows us, is its great disproof. Her book is a joyful study of the joy that inspired all of Nabokov's art. A beautiful little book which, flitting here and there like the great man's beloved butterflies, delightfully succeeds in netting the butterfly hunter.
A lucid and joyful account of the great master's art, written with all the playfulness that the subject deserves. Very delightful.
Nabokov claimed that 'originality' is a writer's only honesty. And Lila Azam Zanganeh's wonderful new book The Enchanter is a work of genuine and delightful originality. Her voice is intimate and alluring, and The Enchanter provokes a steady hum of joyousness in the reader's own mind. It is a timely reminder of why we read and write, and why now perhaps more than ever we need to connect to the world through Nabokov's enchanted 'third eye of imagination'.
There is a popular misconception that writers, in order to produce their best work, must be in the throes of personal torment. Nabokov wrote with joy, and his life, however difficult or tragic its circumstances may have been at times, was suffused with an underlying optimism. This happy stratum is often overlooked by those who seek the somber side of writing, yet the joy of creation, the playful nuances of life and art, are ever-present. Lila Azam Zanganeh's new book is about the joyous Nabokov who, in the words of Updike, "writes ecstatically." And Azam Zanganeh, a gifted writer, brings him to life in an elegant, personal, highly accessible style, without any attempt to mimic that of her beloved subject.