The Unreal Life of Sergey Nabokov

Paul Russell. Cleis, $16.95 trade paper (376p) ISBN 978-1-57344-719-5
In this meticulously researched novel, Russell (The Coming Storm) imagines the life of the younger, and now forgotten, Nabokov—Sergey. Always living in the shadow of his older brother, Sergey finds himself in 1943 Berlin working for the Propaganda Ministry. When he realizes that he may be under surveillance, he begins hastily penning his life story. From his birth in pre-revolutionary Russia, Sergey (cursed with a stutter) claims that his parents viewed him as Vladimir’s pale comparison. As Sergey tells of his early life in St. Petersburg, the narrative shifts to depicting a homosexual man living in uncertain times, with touches of glamour as Sergey meets Gertrude Stein, Pablo Picasso, and Jean Cocteau, among others. Sergey’s struggles with his sexuality, as well as his adventures and misadventures in the salons and clubs of pre-war Europe, are drawn with humanity. With compelling characters and steady prose, the reader will breeze through this pleasurable, heart-breaking account of the other Nabokov. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/12/2011
Release date: 11/01/2011
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-57344-732-4
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