Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Adrienne Celt

Adrienne Celt's new novel is Invitation to a Bonfire.

From her Q&A with Deborah Kalb:

Q: What inspired you to write a novel based on the marriage of Vladimir and Véra Nabokov?

A: Nabokov has been one of my favorite novelists since I first read him, back in college—his writing has a way of enlivening existence as only the best art can do. Heightening sensation, danger, pleasure, while still remaining grounded (for the most part) in reality.

I took a seminar on his work, and I'm sure every paper I wrote was just one big mash note to him; my enthusiasm has not really tempered with time.

Part of Nabokov's fascination, though, comes from his larger-than-life mythos. He was a pre-revolutionary Russian aristocrat; he translated his own novels and wrote fluently (brilliantly!) in multiple languages; he was a refugee; and then there is his famous marriage.

It's well known that Vladimir's wife, Véra, was devoted in a way that few spouses can aspire to: she did everything for him, from opening his mail to teaching his college classes.

She's really become known as the ne plus ultra of female support for male genius, to the degree that she is known to have destroyed pieces of her own correspondence so that historians wouldn't be able to focus on her part of her husband's legacy. (Which kinda backfired, at least as far as my own interest is concerned, because what a fascinating thing to do!)

I wanted to explore what kind of woman—what kind of person—is able to subsume their own desires beneath the glory of another person.

Now, I should say that the characters in my book are only inspired by the Nabokovs, not based on them—I think that anyone familiar with Nabokov's biography would see the traces, but also the major deviations—and that's also true of the third important character: the woman who Leo Orlov (the famous writer in my novel) has an affair with.

Nabokov did in fact have at least one important...[read on]
Visit Adrienne Celt's website.

--Marshal Zeringue