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Mary is a gripping tale of youth, first love, and nostalgia--Nabokov's first novel. In a Berlin rooming house filled with an assortment of seriocomic Russian émigrés, Lev Ganin, a vigorous young officer poised between his past and his future, relives his first love affair. His memories of Mary are suffused with the freshness of youth and the idyllic ambience of pre-revolutionary Russia. In stark contrast is the decidedly unappealing boarder living in the room next to Ganin's, who, he discovers, is Mary's husband, temporarily separated from her by the Revolution but expecting her imminent arrival from Russia.
that case I have no right to detain you.” Anton Sergeyevich spread his hands and glanced sidelong through his pince-nez at his visitor. “Please give my regards to your wife. I haven’t the pleasure of knowing her, but give her my regards all the same.” “Thank you,” said Kunitsyn. “Delighted. Goodbye. I believe I left my coat in the hall.” “I’ll see you out,” said Podtyagin. “Please excuse me, Lev Glebovich, I’ll be back in a moment.” Alone, Ganin settled more comfortably in the old green
he saw Podtyagin knocking on Klara’s door and Podtyagin too seemed to him a ghost, something extraneous and irrelevant. “Our friend is in love with someone again.” Anton Sergeyevich nodded toward the door as he drank tea with Klara. “It’s not you, is it?” Klara turned away; her ample bust rose and fell. She could not believe it to be true; it frightened her, she was frightened by the Ganin who rifled other people’s desks, but she was nevertheless pleased by Podtyagin’s question. “He’s not in
fine, lustrous down which gave a specially warm tinge to her cheeks; her nostrils flared as she talked, emitting short laughs and sucking the sweetness from a grass stalk; her voice was rapid and burry, with sudden chest tones, and a dimple quivered at her open neck. Then toward evening he escorted her and her friends to the village and as they walked down a green, weed-grown forest path, at the spot where stood a lame bench, he told them with a very straight face, “Macaroni grows in Italy. When
and changed into a dream. The dream was odd and most precious, and he would have remembered it if only he had not been woken at dawn by a strange noise that sounded like a peal of thunder. He sat up and listened. The thunder turned out to be an incomprehensible groaning and shuffling outside the door; somebody was scraping at it. Gleaming very faintly in the dim dawn air, the door handle was suddenly pressed down and flicked up again, but although it was unlocked the door stayed shut. In
fashionably bobbed, the two streaks of unshaven black hairs down the nape of her neck, her dark, languid eyelids, and above all her lips, glossy with purple-red lipstick. He was bored and repelled when as she dressed, after a bout of mechanical lovemaking, she would narrow her eyes, which at once gave them an unpleasantly shaggy look, and say, “I’m so sensitive, you know, that I shall be able to tell at once when you don’t love me as much as you used to.” Ganin, without replying, turned away