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Vladimir Nabokov had a younger gay brother, of whom he and his family were deeply ashamed. Sergey was a talented artist, a passionate activist, and he died in a Nazi concentration camp.
This is his story, and Paul Russell deserves to win many, many awards for it.
A stuttering childhood in the shadow of his brilliant older brother, Sergey was a different kind of brilliant. He was devoted to classical dance, and many of his lovers were members the Russian Ballet corps. His life in Paris intermingled with the brightest stars of the Modernist Movement— as well as the habitueés of the opium den. To his ultimate end in Berlin, dying in 1945— Paul writes an extraordinary novel based on the life of an exceptional person.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
I have spent many months trying to get through this audiobook and am finally giving up with about four hours to go.
The text is fascinating but the egregious narration is unbearable. It is spectacularly bad. The offensively homophobic voicing of the gay characters would be bad enough, but the tone and phrasing of every sentence is beyond irritating.
Such a rendering of writing of this quality is a travesty.
Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?
Delightful novel that takes a look at the fictional gay brother of the famous Russian author Vladimir Nabokov. The novel jumps between two time periods, pre revolutionary Russia and the Second World War, eventually merging at the devastating climax in Berlin during the War. A rich tapestry of real historical characters is woven into the story line, namely Cocteau, Stravinsky, Diaghilev and Gertrude Stein etc. making for some amusing and intriguing scenes as Russell brings these characters to life. Russell's style is impressive and entertaining, however, at times it becomes almost too clever for its own good becoming a distraction to the momentum of the story. Overall an enjoyable read and listen on both Kindle and Audible respectively.
What other book might you compare The Unreal Life of Sergey Nabokov to, and why?
A Stranger's Child, by Allen Hollinghurst.
What three words best describe Ken Kliban’s performance?
Ernest sincere attempt.
Could you see The Unreal Life of Sergey Nabokov being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?
The Woody Allen movie, Midnight in Paris, makes use of famous historical literary characters in an amusing and entertaining way, so there is good reason to assumes that Russell's book could be made into an absorbing movie. It has a good combination of humour and tragedy for an entertaining movie.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful