Lesser minds examining Vladimir Nabokov’s posthumously published The Original of Laura (Dying is Fun), A Novel in Fragments will be tempted to begin by quoting index card D2, page 133, in which the great Enchanter writes, “Now comes the mental image. In preparing for my own experiments — a long fumble which these notes shall help novices to avoid — I toyed with the ides of drawing a fairly detailed, fairly recognizable portrait of myself on my private blackboard.” This is a trap of course, neatly set by that great player of literary games, that the present reviewer shall neatly sidestep by instead noting that when the great Nabokov passed away in 1977 (as harrowingly related by a character purporting to be Nabokov’s son, Dmitri, in T.O.O.L.’s introduction), I was four years old, and had only just recently discovered his works. I was halfway through my second re-reading of Pale Fire – I hadn’t yet found all the clues as to the butterfly/Hazel Shade connection - and I was devastated in that way that only the near-infant fan of a great author can be when he learns his favorite author has shuffled off this mortal coil.
The whole thing reads like that. It could not be more serious, tongue firmly out of cheek.