A first encounter with Laura, Nabokov’s last, unfinished work

Ron Rosenbaum in Slate:

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It shouldn't be surprising that the forthcoming (Nov. 17) release of the long-locked-away Holy Grail of higher lit, Vladimir Nabokov's unfinished draft of The Original of Laura, is attended with an air of the clandestine.

In order to read the text now, one cannot simply order a review copy. One must enter the lobby of the Random House building (currently adorned with promotional cards for Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol) and ascend to the 21st floor, where, in an unused office, the only copy shown to outsiders reposes on a table. Once there, one is instructed that one can read it but must not (for several reasons, including a commitment to publish excerpts from the work in Playboy) disclose anything about it that has not previously appeared in print until the Playboy installment is on the stands.

The restrictions were frustrating, but there was something thrillingly forbidden about my first encounter with Laura, whose text, as we shall see, I played no small part in bringing to light. And then there was the shocker on Page xix, which I've been allowed to disclose.

More here. [Thanks to Ahmad Saeedullah.]