By Vladimir Nabokov
Vladimir Nabokov's early novel is the mind-blowing tale of the coarse, unusual but oddly endearing chess-playing genius Luzhin. learning his prodigious present in boyhood and emerging to the rank of foreign Grandmaster, Luzhin develops a lyrical ardour for chess that renders the genuine global a phantom. As he confronts the fiery, swift-swooping Italian Grandmaster Turati, he brings into play his rigorously devised defence. Making masterly play of metaphor and imagery, "The Luzhin Defense" is the ebook that, of his early works, Nabokov felt 'contains and diffuses the best warmth'.
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Extra info for Luzhin Defense (Penguin Modern Classics)
You had a few tin squaddies, I’m definite. …” yet Luzhin infrequently grew enlivened in the course of those conversations. however, regularly nudged by means of such interrogations, his options may go back repeatedly to the field of his formative years. It was once very unlikely to precise his memories in words—there easily have been no grown-up phrases for his infantile impressions—and if he ever similar whatever, then he did so jerkily and unwillingly—rapidly sketching the outlines and staining a fancy circulation, wealthy in probabilities, with only a letter and a bunch. His preschool, pre-chess early life, which he had by no means considered sooner than, brushing aside it with a moderate shudder in order to not locate dormant horrors and humiliating insults there, proved now to be an amazingly secure spot, the place he may perhaps take friendly tours that usually introduced a piercing excitement. Luzhin himself was once not able to appreciate whence the excitement—why identical to the fats French governess with the 3 bone buttons on one facet of her skirt, that drew jointly at any time when she decreased her huge, immense croup into an armchair—why the picture that had then so annoyed him, now evoked in his breast a sense of delicate constriction. He recalled that during their St. Petersburg condominium her asthmatic weight problems had most well-liked to the staircase the old fashioned, water-powered elevator which the janitor used to set in movement by way of a lever within the vestibule. “Here we go,” the janitor acknowledged continually as he closed the door leaves in the back of her, and the heavy, puffing, shuddering elevator may creep slowly upwards on its thick velvet cable, and prior it, down the peeling wall that was once noticeable throughout the glass, may come darkish geographic patches, these patches of dampness and age between which, as one of the clouds within the sky, the reigning style is for silhouettes of Australia and the Black Sea. occasionally little Luzhin may cross up along with her, yet extra usually he stayed under and listened to the elevator, excessive up and in the back of the wall, suffering upwards—and he consistently was hoping, did little Luzhin, that it should get caught midway. usually adequate this occurred. The noise may stop and from unknown, intermural area could come a wail for support: the janitor under could circulate the lever, with a grunt of attempt, then open the door into blackness and ask rapidly, having a look upwards: “Moving? ” ultimately anything may shudder and stir and after a short while the elevator may descend—now empty. Empty. Goodness is familiar with what had occurred to her—perhaps she had traveled as much as heaven and remained there together with her bronchial asthma, her liquorice goodies and her pince-nez on a black wire. The recollection additionally got here again empty, and for the 1st time in all his existence, possibly, Luzhin requested himself the question—where precisely had all of it long gone, what had turn into of his youth, whither had the veranda floated, whither, rustling throughout the timber, had the commonly used paths crept away? With an involuntary stream of the soul he sought for those paths within the hospital backyard, however the flower beds had a special define, the birches have been put another way, and the gaps of their russet foliage, packed with autumn blue, by no means corresponded to the remembered gaps into which he attempted to slot those cut-out items of azure.