AngieBabble (angiebabble) wrote in nabokovia,
AngieBabble
angiebabble
nabokovia

Ada, or Ardor

I have been trying to read Ada for probably a few years now between the picking up and putting down of the book. I've finally managed to really plow through the thing this time, and am close to being finished. Still, I'm finding the book very difficult to read. It's as though I have dig through so much top layer just to get to the true, and very engrossing love story bewteen Van and Ada.

Has anyone else had difficulty getting through this one?
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I read it for a book club I joined and a lot of people had a hard time getting through it. I loved the book, personally. It's a sort of an intellectual scavenger hunt where the story isn't given to you in a linear fashion but rather hinted at and revealed little by little later on... I guess not everyone enjoys that.
I had a hard time the first few times I tried to read Ada, but I still feel like it's one of N's greatest novels. One big difference between my failed readings and actually getting through it and enjoying it was becoming fluent in Russian and getting some French. It's hard to appreciate what he's up to without the languages. And there are a lot of translation puns between the text and the "official" Vivian Darkbloom notes. (And I still feel like I missed quite a bit, since my French is bad.)
Being able to understand some Russian definitely helps. I definitely want to re-read it at some point, maybe after I pick up some French :)
I've got French under my belt, so I'm half way there. It's the Russian that's got me.

It is one of my dreams to learn Russian. Maybe, someday, I'll have learned it and will have another go at Ada
As far as grammar is concerned, Russian is way easier than French. The vocabulary and pronunciation are a different matter, but at least in Russian we pronounce all the letters. ;-)
The first bit is very hard to get through and if you stop then you'll forget what was going on. I chose this book for my book club and think reading it with other people helped a bit. It is certainly a book for re-readers, very full of small details that refer to other parts of the book that no one will catch the first time through, as well as details referring to many other works of literature. I can't imagine reading Ada without also reading or having read Nabokov's 'Lolita', some Turgenev, some Tolstoy, Pushkin's Eugene Onegin, and Maupassant's short story 'The Necklace' and being familiar with Anna Karenina. There was probably more that I didn't get.

So I had a lot of difficulty with it but found it very beautiful and rewarding too. Do you like it?
and PS-- try this!
Thank you! This helps a bunch. :)
I do like it! Though I do have to slug through some parts, when I get to the bit I want it's so rewardign and I devour that section very quickly. I agree about being familiar with other works. It has definitely helped. Perhaps it was a good thing I continued to put this donw until I was a bit more well read.
yes, I was doing the exact same thing...it's like swimming through molasses...lugubrious but not entirely unpleasant. it's been ages since I picked it up, I'll have to remember to have another go at it
*I always want "lugubrious" to mean something sort of like "sluggish" because it sounds like it should and then forget it actually means something else
It's not a book that can be enjoyed casually. I personally feel the effort needed is not justified by the resultant satisfaction, and Ada comes low on my heirarchy of Nabokov books. The shadow of Joyce loomed too large on this one, I fear.
I remember devouring it. I loved that shit. But I was also wrapping up an intermediate Russian language course and a Nabokov course and I was getting a lot of the language jokes. I just thought it was so funny and sexy and just fun.

Man, now I miss college...
are you crazy? hard time to get thru??? i read it once in the english original, then i read that nabokov did the french translation himself and felt obliged to read it again in the french language (which i read slower than english).
Ada, ili erotiada.
Not in the least. Ada is a simple book--too simple. It is the only book by Nabokov that I dislike.
I thought it was pretty easy to get through, with the exception of, Part IV? I really don't remember, the one that was not broken into chapters. I had to read that a few times to absorb it properly. Although I guess being good at reading French helped.

Anonymous

July 11 2008, 17:46:44 UTC 8 years ago

jesus christ ya. I have to keep a dictionary and note cards handy for all the allusions not appended to the notes. Plus the prose is so poetic at times I find myself rereading a passage almost five times. I'm not close to being finished though =[