So today at work, Sean comes up to me…. OK, backtrack.
First of all, Sean is this guy I work with and he is the only person in my entire workplace that actually reads.
And by “actually reads” I don’t mean actually CAN read [a few others there, “can” read…… I think]… but I mean he DOES read. And he reads good stuff.
Like he just finished reading some Henry Miller. He reads Hemingway. He recently got through Joyce’s Ulysses. [← A feat I have yet to attempt.]
Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar.
He reads good stuff. And he’s only 22 years old. Horridly, I am twice his age.
Chronologically speaking, I could be Sean’s dad!
[Thankfully though, recent DNA testing has proved the foregoing sentence an impossibility!]
Now Sean is reading Nabokov’s Lolita, a book I read a couple of years ago.
So today at work he comes up to me and says something about how wild it is that Nabokov is writing in English.
And you know what?
It is remarkable!
Nabokov, I mean.
How can someone write so well in a language that is not his first language?
I am looking at my copy of Lolita and sure enough [I knew this beforehand but still looked, to be sure]… there is no “Translated by _____” in the frontispiece of Lolita.
IT WAS WRITTEN IN ENGLISH!
So, with just the slightest amount of research I find that Vladimir Nabokov wrote his first literary works in his native language [Russian] but rose to international prominence as a masterly prose English stylist for the novels he composed in the United States.
Get this → His family spoke Russian, English and French in their household, and Nabokov was trilingual from an early age. In fact, much to his father's patriotic chagrin, Nabokov could read and write English before he could Russian.
So, I hate him.
No, but seriously, how can he be so brilliant?
It’s not fair.
What I mean is, I consider myself to be fairly intelligent, as compared to other things on two legs and all, but, my native [and only] language is English, and I CAN’T WRITE IN THAT LANGUAGE, AS GOOD AS THIS GUY!
Lolita is a masterpiece of the ENGLISH language!
So I hate Vladimir Nabokov…. starting right now.
I want to run out onto my balcony and bang my head on it!
[See, even that sentence could have been written more betterer!]
No. → I want to run out and date a fourteen-year old girl!
[Can I even say that on the internet?]
My PG rating is going to go Triple XXX!