- Publisher: PENGUIN CLASSICS
- Format: Paperback | 192 pages
- Dimensions: 130mm x 194mm x 12mm | 100g
- Publication date: 29 March 2007
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0141185996
- ISBN 13: 9780141185996
- Sales rank: 200,300
Spurred on by admiration for his novelist half-brother and irritation at the biography written about him by Mr Goodman ('his slapdash and very misleading book'), the narrator, V, sets out to record Sebastian Knight's life as he understands it. But buried amid the extensive quoting, digressions, seeming explanations and digs, Sebastian's erratic and troubled persona remains as elusive as ever. Nabokov's first novel written in English, "The Real Life of Sebastian Knight" is a nuanced, enigmatic potrayal of the conflict between the real and the unreal, and the futile quest for human truth.
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Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977) was born in St Petersburg. He wrote his first literary works in Russian, but rose to international prominence as a masterly prose stylist for the novels he composed in English, most famously, Lolita. Between 1923 and 1940 he published novels, short stories, plays, poems and translations in the Russian language and established himself as one of the most outstanding Russian emigre writers.
Back cover copy
The real Life of Sebastian Knight is a perversely magical literary detective story--subtle, intricate, leading to a tantalizing climax--about the mysterious life of a famous writer.
"Nabokov writes prose the only way it should be written, that is, ecstatically." -- John Updike The Real Life of Sebastian Knight is a perversely magical literary detective story -- subtle, intricate, leading to a tantalizing climax -- about the mysterious life of a famous writer. Many people knew things about Sebastian Knight as a distinguished novelist, but probably fewer than a dozen knew of the two love affairs that so profoundly influenced his career, the second one in such a disastrous way. After Knight's death, his half brother sets out to penetrate the enigma of his life, starting with a few scanty clues in the novelist's private papers. His search proves to be a story as intriguing as any of his subject's own novels, as baffling, and, in the end, as uniquely rewarding.