By Vladimir Nabokov
Vladimir Nabokov's early novel is the astounding tale of the coarse, unusual but oddly endearing chess-playing genius Luzhin. studying his prodigious reward in boyhood and emerging to the rank of foreign Grandmaster, Luzhin develops a lyrical ardour for chess that renders the true global a phantom. As he confronts the fiery, swift-swooping Italian Grandmaster Turati, he brings into play his conscientiously devised defence. Making masterly play of metaphor and imagery, "The Luzhin Defense" is the publication that, of his early works, Nabokov felt 'contains and diffuses the best warmth'.
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Extra info for Luzhin Defense (Penguin Modern Classics)
His spouse became. The smile got here out thoroughly effectively. “Ouf,” sighed Mrs. Luzhin, “we’re eventually rid of them,” and fast embracing her husband, she started to kiss him—on the ideal eye, then the chin, then the left ear—observing a strict series that had as soon as been licensed through him. “Well, cheer up, cheer up,” she repeated. “That madam’s long past away now, disappeared. ” “Disappeared,” stated Luzhin obediently and with a sigh kissed the hand that was once patting his neck. “What tenderness,” whispered his spouse, “ah, what candy tenderness …” It used to be time to visit mattress, she went to undress, and Luzhin walked via all 3 rooms, trying to find a spot to conceal the pocket chess set. in all places was once insecure. the main unforeseen locations have been invaded within the mornings by means of the snout of that rapacious vacuum cleanser. it really is tricky, tricky to conceal something: the opposite issues are jealous and inhospitable, maintaining on firmly to their areas and never permitting a homeless item, escaping pursuit, right into a unmarried cranny. therefore he didn't have the ability to disguise the morocco workstation that evening, and for this reason he made up our minds to not cover it in any respect yet just to eliminate it, yet this additionally proved to be faraway from effortless; so it remained in his lining, and in basic terms after numerous months, whilst all possibility used to be lengthy, gone, basically then used to be the pocket chess set stumbled on back, and by means of then its beginning used to be vague. 14 To herself Mrs. Luzhin admitted that the three-week stopover at of the woman from Russia had now not handed with out leaving a hint. The visitor’s evaluations have been fake and stupid—but how end up it? She was once horrified that during fresh years she had taken so no interest in the technological know-how of exile, passively accepting the smooth, varnished and gold-lettered perspectives of her mom and dad and paying no consciousness to the speeches she heard at émigré political conferences, which it had as soon as been the object to wait. It happened to her that Luzhin too, possibly, may have a flavor for political matters—would probably enjoy them, the way in which hundreds of thousands of different clever humans do. And a brand new profession for Luzhin used to be crucial. He had develop into unusual, the normal sullenness had reappeared, and there frequently was once in his eyes one of those slippery expression, as though he have been hiding whatever from her. She used to be fearful that he had nonetheless now not discovered a very engrossing pastime and she or he reproached herself for the narrowness of her psychological imaginative and prescient and her lack of ability to discover the sector, the assumption, the article which might supply paintings and foodstuff for Luzhin’s inactive abilities. She knew she needed to hurry, and that each unoccupied minute in Luzhin’s existence was once a loophole for phantoms. earlier than departing for picturesque lands it was once essential to locate Luzhin an enticing online game, and purely afterwards to inn to the balsam of trip, that decisive issue utilized by romantic millionaires to therapy their spleen. She started with newspapers. She took out subscriptions to Znamya (The Banner), Rossianin (The Russian), Zarubezhny Golos (The Voice of Exile), Ob’yedinyenie (Union) and Klich (The Clarion), acquired the newest numbers of émigré magazines and—for comparison—several Soviet magazines and newspapers.