Friday, 27 July 2018

Invitation to a Bonfire by Adrienne Celt : ARC Review

'Vera. Even your name intoxicates, incinerates. Veer-a. '

The line sound familiar to the opening lines of Lolita?

Warning : This may be the best book you have ever read if you are a literary enthusiast.

So if you have Lolita or any other work by Nabokov, you must be aware of the influence  exercised by Vera, his wife over his life. Mostly to guard his reputation and legacy, and often to dominate over him - any work by Nabokov has Vera's influence between the lines. And well, she also controlled his countless affairs, his relationships and not to forget - his life every every waking moment.

Celt's fictionalised version of a love triangle concerning Lev ( the author), Vera ( his wife) and Zoya (his mistress) bowled me over owing to the literary references more than the mind wrecking dysfunctional characters of the novel. While reading the book I read up almost every article on Nabokov and Vera's marriage and while it might be that the story , the ending and the mistress is fictionalised - the theme it draws inspiration from is quite close to reality. It makes me wonder whom should I blame? Vera's obsessive behavior that forces Lev to think -

'I would not want to cross you, Vera. It would be safer to kill you.'

Or Lev's countless affairs that Vera had to tolerate?

The chapters written from Zoya's perspective boast a passionate tone, and Lev's a natural literary brilliance. This is craftsmanship at its best. A wickedly delightful novel that I would recommend to every literature lover. However, if you haven't read Nabokov you may be clueless about several things here, or fail to imbibe the essence.

Grab the book by clicking here.

P.S. The title is inspired from Nabokov's Invitation to a Beheading.

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