Wednesday, May 13, 2009

So he says, "Have sex with her on the floor of a gas station bathroom? I don't even know 'er!"

So, a photographer is coming to take pictures of our apartment to put it on the market this afternoon, and as a result I've done things like clean the windows and dust the walls and de-fur everything in the house over the last week, and as Houseboy pointed out (with a total lack of irony), our apartment is now the cleanest it's been since we moved in.  I also was asked by our realtor to "declutter," so there are about 10 boxes of books and knick knacks in our storage container(s) in the basement and I'm thinking maybe I have a clutter "problem."

Anyway, all of that is a very astute introduction to this week's book, "Bend Sinister," by Vladimir Nabokov*, which I have in such an old edition that none of the google images shows the cover I have, which fell off while I was reading it and I used it as a bookmark.  So, anyway, my edition also has an introduction in which they quote Nabokov saying that everyone took the book rather too seriously the first time around and looked for hidden meanings where there were none.  That pretty much gave me the carte blanche to just read it and enjoy it, since Nabokov writes in his second language at least three times better than the average writer in his first.  I had a whole bunch of good quotes underlined for you, but I already packed the book away, so you'll just have to take my word for it.  So, possible deeper meaning aside, this book takes place in a fictional Eastern European country, where the new government is one of those fascist/communist ones that were so popular in that region at a certain time.  The main character is a famous philosopher (Adam Krug) whose wife has just died of natural causes, leaving him alone with a very young son.  He has no interest in getting involved in the political hullaballoo, but he's famous and plus the dictator is an old school chum that he nicknamed "The Toad," and on whose face Krug repeatedly sat when they were children.  So The Toad's henchmen keep trying to get him to sign things and give speeches and he keeps going out to country houses to stay with friends, who are then arrested by a couple who fit the Communist/Nazi stereotype used so often in Indiana Jones and Wonder Woman--clean and fit and completely self-absorbed, they have conversations about their sex life while carting folks off to the gulag.  

So, despite all his friends disappearing, Krug is more or less winning this battle since he remains calm and unaffected and doesn't sign any "The Toad is Great" documents, until they arrest him and kidnap his son and then shit gets emotional**.  All in all, without looking too deeply, there are some definite anti-totalitarian vibes and some intellectual freedom stuff and definitely a whole pro-family message.  And that's all I'll say on that.  Go read it.  It's good.  And this one doesn't even have any sex with little girls in it, I promise.

* Think about it hard and you'll figure it out.  Take the day off if you have to.
** Yeah, that's an Idiocracy reference.


  1. But, my boss would get mad if I take the rest of the day off. Oh, ok, I'll do what I normally do and just mentally take the day off. That will work. (hope I can figure it out)

  2. Happy to provide any excuse for not working. Did you get it? The answer is C, as it usually is.