King, Queen, Knave

King, Queen, Knave

Vladimir Nabokov, Dmitri Nabokov

Language: English

Pages: 272

ISBN: 0679723404

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The novel is the story of Dreyer, a wealthy and boisterous proprietor of a men's clothing emporium store.  Ruddy, self-satisfied, and thoroughly masculine, he is perfectly repugnant to his exquisite but cold middle-class wife Martha.  Attracted to his money but repelled by his oblivious passion, she longs for their nephew instead, the myopic Franz. Newly arrived in Berlin, Franz soon repays his uncle's condescension in his aunt's bed.

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red-and-blue pencil, sat down half-facing him. The man’s thick eyebrows wiggled like furry black caterpillars, and the freshly shaven parts of his melancholy face had a dark turquoise cast. The inventor began from afar, and this Dreyer approved. All business ought to be handled with that artful caution. Lowering his voice, the inventor passed with laudable smoothness from the preface to the substance. Dreyer laid down his pencil. Suavely and in detail the Magyar—or Frenchman, or Pole—stated his

leafing through an old picture magazine and stopping at the messy death of a riddle: an indelible pencil had rapaciously filled in most of the crossword’s blank squares. A lady in a moleskin coat (that impressed the proprietress of the place) and a young man in tortoise shell glasses, sipping cherry brandy and gazing into each other’s eyes. A drunk in an unemployed-looking cap tapping on the thick glass behind which coins had bunched together forming a metal sausage—the losses of all those who

toxication a blend of murder and betrayal. “Deep thinkers,” remarked Martha with a snarling laugh, sharply turning the page. Still she could not get to the heart of the matter. A sardonic “See” sent her to something called “alkaloids.” Another “See” led to the fang of a centipede, magnified, if you please. Franz, unaccustomed to big encyclopedias, breathed heavily as he looked over her shoulder. Climbing through the barbed wire of formulae, they read for a long time about the uses of morphine,

interrupted. “She’s taking me to Paris! I know it’s a fizzy city, but it always gives me heartburn. Still I’m going, I’m going. By the way, you haven’t told me of your own summer plans. I’ve heard of a fellow who could not remember a funny story and burst a blood vessel.” “It’s not the fact that I can’t remember it that hurts,” Dreyer said plaintively. “What hurts is that I’ll remember it the minute we part. No, we haven’t decided yet. Isn’t that so, my love? We haven’t decided yet? In fact”

the fool … it does not matter now. He’s a first-rate swimmer—that’s not tennis for you! She, too, was born on the banks of a big river, and could stay afloat for hours, for days, forever. She used to lie on her back, and the water would lap and rock her, so delicious, so cool. And the bracing breeze penetrating you as you sat naked with a naked boy of your age among the forget-me-nots. These thoughts came without effort. She need not invent, she had only to develop what was already there in

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