The Night Inspection: Vladimir Nabokov at 123

Maxim D. Shrayer in the Los Angeles Review of Books:

On the night of April 22, the Composer doesn’t sleep …

Insolent insomnia, he will say to his wife the following morning at breakfast. Kornfleks and kofe with kreem. The neck and jowls of an athlete, the aquiline nose, and the lips of an old camel. A few years ago he could still play a strong game of lawn tennis. Now strictly indoor games. And a jacket with black and white squares. The Composer will let the jacket drop, and then will jot down the word “Petrarch” on an index card of the sort the French call Fiches Bristol.

As soon as Véra has fallen asleep in her bedroom, the Composer starts the preparations.

More here.