Ian Sansom at Literary Review:
For all those keen quivering Nabokovians out there with infinitely deep pockets – are there any other kind? – or perhaps with access to a university library, these are undoubtedly the years of plenty. In 2014 alone, even the most casual short-trousered amateur Nabokovterist armed with a basic butterfly net would have been able to catch Maurice Couturier'sNabokov's Eros and the Poetics of Desire, Yuri Leving's Shades of Laura: Vladimir Nabokov's Last Novel, Samuel Schuman's Nabokov's Shakespeare, and the paperback reissues of Gerard de Vries and D Barton Johnson's Nabokov and the Art of Paintingand Vladimir E Alexandrov's Nabokov's Otherworld. Almost forty years after his death there is, it seems, much good Nabokov-hunting still to be had. In a lecture on 'The Art of Literature and Commonsense', collected in his Lectures on Literature – which remains the perfect entry point into the vast, prodigious kingdom of the Great Nabob – Nabokov remarks, 'In a sense, we are all crashing to our death from the top story of our birth … and wondering with an immortal Alice at the patterns of the passing wall. This capacity to wonder at trifles – no matter the imminent peril – these asides of the spirit … are the highest form of consciousness.'
So as we go crashing to our death, let us continue, like Alice, to wonder at trifles. This year has already seen a reprint of Galya Diment's excellent and eccentric Pniniad, an utterly thorough study of the relationship between Nabokov and the much-thwarted Marc Szeftel, his colleague at Cornell and the model for poor Timofey Pnin, hapless 'assistant professor emeritus' in Pnin. And now comes Robert Roper's perfectly usefulNabokov in America.