I realize there is not a large number of people who will be as excited about this as I am, but I just had to share anyway. :-) After reading Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky last year and reading about a whole bunch of other classic Russian novels I'm now anxious to explore, I just had to have this. I also picked up a book of some of Gogol's short works, and I'm developing a weird obsession with reading Nabokov's other work despite the fact that I hated Lolita. Have you read the little blurbs on any of his other books? Here are a couple:
Invitation to a Beheading:
Like Kafka's The Castle, Invitation to a Beheading embodies a vision of a bizarre and irrational world. In an unnamed dream country, the young man Cincinnatus C. is condemned to death by beheading for "gnostical turpitude." an imaginary crime that defies definition. Cincinnatus spends his last days in an absurd jail, where he is visited by chimerical jailers. an executioner who masquerades as a fellow prisoner, and by his in-laws. who lug their furniture with them into his cell. When Cincinnatus is led out to be executed. he simply wills his executioners out of existence: they disappear, along with the whole world they inhabit.
Extensively revised by Nabokov in 1965--thirty years after its original publication--Despair is the wickedly inventive and richly derisive story of Hermann, a man who undertakes the perfect crime--his own murder.
My imagination is captivated. I don't know why. I bought Despair the other day. Perhaps this cold has finally gotten to me. :-)