By Vladimir Nabokov

Mary is a gripping story of sweet sixteen, past love, and nostalgia--Nabokov's first novel.  In a Berlin rooming condo packed with an collection of seriocomic Russian émigrés, Lev Ganin, a full of life younger officer poised among his previous and his destiny, relives his past love affair.  His thoughts of Mary are suffused with the freshness of teenage and the idyllic atmosphere of pre-revolutionary Russia.  In stark distinction is the decidedly unappealing boarder dwelling within the room subsequent to Ganin's, who, he discovers, is Mary's husband, briefly separated from her by way of the Revolution yet looking ahead to her drawing close arrival from Russia.

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Whilst Ganin entered the eating room at approximately part prior on Monday afternoon, the entire others have been already of their locations. Catching sight of him, Alfyorov smiled in greeting and rose in his position, yet Ganin didn't supply his hand and sat down beside him with a silent nod, having already mentally cursed his evident neighbor. Podtyagin, a smartly dressed, unassuming outdated guy, who fed instead of ate, was once noisily slurping his soup whereas together with his left hand combating his collar-lodged serviette from falling into the plate, glanced over the lenses of his pince-nez after which with a imprecise sigh lower back to his slops. In a second of frankness Ganin had informed him approximately his oppressive love affair with Lyudmila and now regretted having performed so. Kolin, on his left, handed him a plate of soup with tremulous care, giving him such an ingratiating glance and the sort of smile together with his unusual veiled eyes that Ganin felt uncomfortable. in the meantime, to his correct, Alfyorov’s unctuous little tenor voice resumed its prattling, objecting to whatever acknowledged through Podtyagin, who used to be sitting contrary him. “You’re flawed to discover fault, Anton Sergeyevich. this can be a such a lot cultured nation. No comparability with backward outdated Russia. ” With a kindly glint of his pince-nez, Podtyagin became to Ganin. “Congratulate me. at the present time the French have despatched me my front visa. i think like placing at the nice ribbon of an order and calling on President Doumergue. ” He had an surprisingly friendly voice, tender, with out switch in pitch, mellow and mat in tone. His fats, delicate face with its grey little goatee lower than the reduce lip and its receding chin looked to be coated with a good, reddish tan, and wrinkles of kindliness fanned out round his serene, clever eyes. In profile he seemed like a wide, grizzled guinea pig. “I’m so glad,” acknowledged Ganin. “When are you leaving? ” yet Alfyorov didn't let the outdated guy to answer. Giving a ordinary twitch to his scraggy neck with its sparse golden hairs and massive cellular Adam’s apple, he went on. “I suggest you to stick right here. What’s mistaken with this position? issues are common the following. France is extra like a zigzag, and as for our Russia—that’s a googly. i love it much here—there’s paintings and the streets are great for a stroll. i will end up to you mathematically that if one’s acquired to stay somewhere—” “But,” Podtyagin quietly interrupted him, “what concerning the mountains of paper, the coffinlike cardboard bins, the interminable records, documents and extra records! The cabinets are groaning lower than the load of them. And the police reliable essentially expired lower than the tension of discovering my identify within the files. you simply can’t think (at the notice ‘imagine’ Podtyagin shook his head slowly and mournfully) what somebody has to move via just to be allowed to depart this nation. As for the variety of types I’ve needed to fill in! this present day I had already started to wish: ah, they're going to stamp my passport with their go out visa! not anything of the type. They despatched me to have my photograph taken, however the pictures won’t be prepared until eventually this night. ” “All very proper,” Alfyorov nodded.

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