The Real Life of Sebastian Knight

The Real Life of Sebastian Knight

3.93 (4,052 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

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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Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 129 x 193 x 21mm | 310g
  • PENGUIN CLASSICS
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0141196998
  • 9780141196992
  • 414,060

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Flap copy

"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.
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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.
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Review quote

He did us all an honour by electing to use, and transform, our language. * Anthony Burgess * Nabokov can move you to laughter in the way that masters can - to laughter that is near to tears. * The Guardian *
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About Vladimir Nabokov

Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977) was one of the great writers of the twentieth century, as well as a translator and lepidopterist. His works include, from the Russian novels, The Luzhin Defense and The Gift; from the English novels, Lolita, Pnin, Pale Fire and Ada; the autobiographical Speak, Memory; translations of Alice in Wonderland into Russian and Eugene Onegin into English; and lectures on literature. All of the fiction and Speak, Memory are published in Penguin.
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Rating details

4,052 ratings
3.93 out of 5 stars
5 28% (1,135)
4 43% (1,751)
3 23% (949)
2 4% (182)
1 1% (35)
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