Mary by Vladimir Nabokov
An exquisite novella — a perfect first work in that it is the key to all of Nabokov’s later themes. The gap between the mortal and the immortal. The primacy of memory, and thus of art. Subjectivity and deception. The book can most profitably be read with Glory. It is astonishing what a fully formed artist he already was at the penning of his first long work.
What is most satisfying and revealing in both Mary and Glory is the lack of resolution of the primary plot element — the lost past is irresolvable. In Glory we do not know if the ending is tragic or heroic, in Mary it is both.
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