Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Signs and Symbols

I first heard about this short story from my favourite living English writer. This was an article about Nabokov following the damaging publication of The Original Of Laura. In this article the writer quite bluntly stated that “Signs and Symbols” is the most perfect story ever written.

Nabokov liked to repeat about how the effect of best fiction is not just intellectual. It’s physical. Something rippling down your chest, spine, stomach. I felt the full extent of this while reading the story on a balcony one summer afternoon. On closing the book, I resolved not to read anything afterwards. For days, maybe weeks. Just to reread those three pages. 

And then, years later, a mystical thing happened. I was watching an interview with my favourite living Russian writer, and he was talking about Lolita. Then at some point he mentioned a few of Nabokov’s lesser known works and stated (again, rather bluntly) that you won’t find a literary piece … well, I knew what he was going to say … more perfect than ... “Signs and Symbols”.

You'll know when you read it.