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The Eye (1990)

The Eye (1990)
3.64 of 5 Votes: 4
067972723X (ISBN13: 9780679727231)
vintage books
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The Eye (1990)
The Eye (1990)

About book: (Some spoilers, but really it doesn't matter, as if you're reading Nabokov's books for their plots and nothing else, I have a feeling, based on this first excursion into his writings, that you may be reading him for the wrong reason and he will make you angry, causing you to call emperor's new clothes on him. I have very little sympathy for those who get pissy when you reveal important plot points from books or movies to them anyway, perhaps because of my own feelings on spoilers (to wit: I don't care, at all; you can tell me what happens in a book all you want, I've even read the Wikipedia entries for some books that revealed absolutely everything, but whatever twist in the plot you told me about will still have an impact on me once I've read the book and gotten to it, my reaction is not diminished because I knew it was coming), so none of the spoilers are going between tags.) Don't bother bitching.According to the narrator of this novella, to the public, to every person you meet, have met, or will ever meet in the future, you are not who you are. This will make more sense later.First, because I don't complain enough already, I need to address the misleading and shitty description on this edition. Don't believe it. It gives almost no information, and what information it has is so vague as to mean nothing at all. You would think, judging by that description, that the narrator, after committing suicide, describes the tortures and affronts he must endure in hell, yet the book has nothing to do with any of that. Consider instead the following synopsis:One of Nabokov's earliest novels and his shortest by far along with the prequel of sorts to Lolita, The Enchanter, The Eye concerns an unnamed narrator whose identity, in the foreword to the novel, at least in my edition, it is stated should be evident if you're paying any attention, who commits suicide after being beaten and humiliated in front of his students by the husband of a woman he was bedding. This suicide is where Nabokov's prose, still developing as this is his fourth book and not as ornate of that of Lolita and his later works in English, shines the most. It is not made entirely clear if the suicide was successful and the events that followed occurred in his imagination or not, but he continues to go about his daily activities as if he had never died, and becomes fascinated with what the narrator tries to make us believe is one of his fellow boarders, called Smurov. He investigates every aspect he can of Smurov's life by reading a diary entry and watching how people act around him and the things they say, and is presented with a grotesque, confusing, rarely accurate portrait of him, formed by an amalgamation of other people's opinions, including, as the Wikipedia entry states, that of "a fraud, nobleman, scoundrel, "sexual adventurer", thief, and spy". The narrator, who it is fully revealed is Smurov himself in a beautifully symbolic passage near the end of the book where he figuratively merges with his own reflection in a mirror, concludes that people's identities do not actually exist as distinct entities, but are constructed wholly of the opinions of the people around them.I am somewhat conflicted about whether his opinions have any merit, or if they say more about Smurov and his state of mind than the real world. I am inclined to think that Smurov is overly self-conscious and insecure, and values others' opinions of himself more than his own indeviduality. Yet his theories may hold some water, since, as much as some of us (especially on the Internet) say and would like to think we are the same around all of our companions and, if asked, they would all present the same picture, there are differences in how we act around others, both subtle and not so, which may form just as grotesque a portraiture as that of Smurov. I act slightly differently when unloading my thousand word paragraphs onto people's comment threads than when I am conversing on a voice chat server about technology and how unrelentingly awful the blind community is than to when I'm talking to the cat about all the people who have done me wrong and how much I hate everyone than when I am sprawled on a couch and talking about nothing at all with my significant other with love in my soul. That last one is a lie. I don't have a significant other, and have no love in my soul. But you get the point. The idiot (as if and if only there were just one!) on Youtube taking up several comments to pound his Dorito dust-caked, sweat-saturated hairy paws on his keyboard until the words "communiss faggot nazi jew bastard fucktard raghead socialist nigger muslim America h8r terrorist democrat politically correct libtard asshole id like to hang you from a hook by ur goddamn neck while rats eat u alive go back2ur moms basement after im done boning her hahaha lol ps Ron Paul 4 POTUS 2016 legalize teh 420" come out because you told him the audio on the latest installation of his video blog is a little soft and maybe he should turn it up a little next time could in all likelyhood be sitting in a cubicle somewhere drinking coffee and chatting up the woman next to him in a soft and reasonable tone. It begs the question, then, if Smurov is correct and our identity consists of the thoughts of those around us about all these slightly different versions of our personalities and if few if any people see the way we truly are, does our real and unadulterated identity, assuming there is such a thing as a distinct identity separate from all of the others rather than the more Smurov-friendly conclusion, that all of these different parts of ourselves contribute to the whole that is who we are, matter? If no one ever sees your true self, untainted by any need to act differently because you're around a certain person or group, could it be then said that your entire identity consists of what others think of you? Were those last two sentences coherent at all? Should I say "identity" twelve more times? Should I ask another more pointless question so I can continue the theme of long sentences with elaborate and pretentious circumlocutions and digressions that end with question marks followed by short staccato sentences? Who is John Galt? Why did the baby cross the road? I'm not sure. I know there are probably several holes in Smurov's philosophy I'm not seeing, but that this little novella caused me to think about the subject as much as I have surely proves that, though it may not be up to the standards of Nabokov's later and greater work and it is, as one reviewer puts it, "Nabokov lite", it's still well-worth reading, if only for all the ideas and his delightful prose and endless wordplay.Have you figured out I don't know how to end reviews non-awkwardly yet? You should read this when you have a spare hour, is what I'm saying. It's like really good and stuff, man.

العين يعرف فلاديمير نابوكوف الكاتب الأمريكي من أصل روسي بروايته (لوليتا)، التي ظهرت سنة 1955 م، وتناولت موضوعا ً محرما ً، لا تسهل الكتابة عنه، ألا وهو علاقة تقوم بين رجل ناضج وفتاة صغيرة عمرها 12 سنة، الرواية وصلت إلى الكثير من قوائم التفضيل المعروفة، وصارت من الروايات الكلاسيكية التي تمثل أدب القرن العشرين. لم اقرأ لنابوكوف شيئا ً خلاف لوليتا، ولكني حصلت على نسخ الكترونية لبعض كتبه، ومنها هذه الرواية القصيرة جدا ً (العين) – بمعنى الجاسوس، لا بالمعنى العضوي -، وبما أني حصلت قبل شهر تقريبا ً على جهاز آيفون، أعاد ترتيب قراءاتي ووسع وقت القراءة لدي بشكل كبير، حيث صرت أحمل فيه كل مكتبتي الالكترونية، إلا أن الشاشة الصغيرة ردعتني عن قراءة كثير من الكتب الضخمة، والتي ادخرتها لأقرئها على جهاز الآيباد الذي تريح شاشته العين، وتجعل قراءة كتاب من 700 صفحة أمرا ً ممكنا ً، هذا جعل الآيفون صالحا ً فقط للكتب الصغيرة، والتي أعرفها على أنها التي لا تتجاوز الـ 250 صفحة، ودفع كثير من الكتب التي كانت مؤجلة إلى المقدمة ومنها هذه الرواية. وبعد كل هذه المقدمة – وأرجو أن لا يخنقني القارئ - لم أكمل الرواية، وإنما ألقيت بها بعدما تجاوزت المنتصف، لا أدري ما الذي كرهته فيها؟ هل هي الترجمة؟ هل هي القصة ذاتها؟ من طرق تحديد مدى روعة وسوء رواية ما، هو مدى ما يبقى في ذاكرتنا منها، والرواية رغم أني قرأتها صباح أمس، إلا أنني الآن لا أكد أجد في ذهني منها شيء تقريبا ً، كان هناك شاب روسي تعرض للضرب في برلين من رجل غاضب، لم أتحقق من هويته، وبسبب هذا حاول قتل نفسه، ولكنه لم ينجح، بعد هذا تداخل الأمر ما بين مهاجرين روس يتواجدون في برلين بعدما هربوا من البلاشفة، ولازالوا يحاولون التمسك بتقاليدهم البطرسبرجية، رغم أن المدينة الكبيرة ذاتها فقدت اسمها وصارت لينينجراد – حتى حين على الأقل -. أعطت الكتاب نجمة واحدة، ولا أظن أني كنت ظالما ً.
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“a sinner’s torment in the afterworld consists precisely in that his tenacious mind cannot find peace until it manages to unravel the complex consequences of his reckless terrestrial actions.”A short, tight little Nabokov novella about a Russian émigré's suicide. The protagonist/protagonist's ghost attempts, after a(n) (un)successful suicide to determine the characteristics of Smurov. The novella explores the concept of identity as being manufactured out of the many differing mirrors of how we are viewed by others. Our social construction or understanding|significance|meaning are not found in the Descartian "cogito ergo sum" but instead discovered by the "I am viewed|seen, therefore, many 'eyes' exist of me." Or said differently, "We are each known|viewed|understood by others. The real US is the sum and the momentum of these phantoms." How well do we really know ourselves? If I could 'comprehend' myself by seeing me as others see me, would that change the nature of who I am? I mean, as they REALLY see me. Does the knowledge of this observation change the nature of who I am? It is a total EGO exercise, but there have been many times when I REALLY wanted to know exactly how I was seen or perceived by others. Not how I thought they saw me, but an almost dislocated desire to see|experience myself through their 'eyes.' That is the essence of this novel. "Ego vero, ergo sum".I liked it, but just didn't LOVE it. It contains many of the germs|embryonic themes Nabokov would chase (and actually catch) in his later novels._______________- Robert Farwell / Edward Jones library / Mesa, AZ 2014
محمود أغيورلي
مقتطفات من رواية العين للكاتب فلاديمير نابكوف-------------------فلكى تعيش سعيدًا؛ يجب أن يخبر الإنسان من حين لآخر لحظات قليلة من غياب المعنى والمتعة---------------كنت أتخيل شخصًا ما يصاب بالجنون لأنه بدأ يدرك بوضوح حركة الكرة الأرضية. فها هو يترنح محاو ً لا الحفاظ على توازنه، يتشبث بقطع الأثاث حتى يستقر على مقعد جوار النافذة وعلى شفتيه ابتسامة من يشعر بالإثارة---------------ياله من شىء عظيم تفكير الإنسان، الذى يستطيع أن يتداعى بسرعة بعد الموت. وحدها السموات تعرف طول الفترة التى سينبض فيها ويخلق صورًا بعد أن أصبح مخى الميت بلا فائدة---------------تصورت أن القوة الدافعة – ما بعد الإنسانية – لتفكيرى سوف تكشف عن نفسها قريبًا، لكن ظهر لى أنه حينما كنت على قيد الحياة، كانت مخيلتى شديدة الخصوبة لدرجة تكفى لأن يتبقى منها ما يدوم لفترة طويلة بعد موتى---------------عذاب المخطئ فى الآخرة يتركز تحديدًا فى أن عقله العنيد لا يستطيع أن يجد السلام والسكينة حتى ينجح فى الكشف عن المتواليات المعقدة لأفعاله الأرضية المتهورة---------------ثمة بهجة مضطربة فى التطلع إلى الماضى والتساؤل :"ما الذى كان ليحدث، إذا.."، مستبد ً لا فرصة بأخرى ،ملاحظًا كيف، من لحظة فى حياة المرء تتسم بأنها رمادية ،وعقيمة ورتيبة ، ينبت حدث وردى معجز فشل أن يزهر فى الواقع.---------------ياله من شىء غامض، هذا الهيكل المتفرع للحياة: ففى كل لحظة تمر يشعر المرء بأنه على مفترق طرق، بين "هكذا" و"بطريقة أخرى"، وبعدد لا يحصى من الخطوط المتعرجة الباهرة ذات التفرع الثنائى والثلاثى ، فى مواجهة الخلفية المظلمة للماضى.---------------الإنسان الذى يسلب آخر حياته هو بالضرورة قاتل، سفاحًا كان أو ضابطًا فى سلاح الفرسان.----------------عندما يعرف المرء أية سعادة قد صدمته – نعم صدمته فهناك سعادة شديدة القوة، بهبوبها وهدير إعصارها ، تشبه الجائحة----------------الموسيقى، الجيدة على الأقل تعبر عما يستعصى على الكلمات، وهنا يكمن معنى وغموض الموسيقى----------------ما يعتبر هراء لشخص ما، قد يكون له معنى لدى شخص آخر.----------------أدركت أن السعادة الوحيدة فى هذا العالم هى أن تلاحظ ، تتجسس، تشاهد، تتفحص ذاتك والآخرين، أن تكون لا شىء، مجرد عين كبيرة، زجاجية قلي ً لا، محتقنة إلى حد ما ولا ترمش----------------
It is frightening when real life suddenly turns out to be a dream, but how much more frightening when that which one had thought a dream--fluid and irresponsible--suddenly starts to congeal into reality.This was a short and wonderfully absurd tale of dreams and reality merging, of what it means to exist, and what, if anything, is actually real. Life for our narrator is a tangled mess, an illusion. What is identity? Are we who we think we are, who we used to be, or are we merely a product of how others view us? Are we even there when no one is looking at us?With mirrors everywhere, skewed time, and an “OMG!” ending, I loved this paranoid, disorienting tale.
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