Alysun Sanders

Enter the mind of an aspiring author!

Pale Fire: What Have I Gotten Myself Into?

on March 4, 2017

Hey guys. Betcha thought you’d seen the last of me, huh? Nope! I’m here to stay! It’s just hard for me to post during the week because I work full-time, and by the time I get home and eat dinner, I’m too tired to post anything. But during my breaks at work I have been reading Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov. I really didn’t know much about it when I started it, but my initial research told me it was sort of centered around the Russian Revolution. This is a topic that has always greatly interested me, so I was kind of excited to start it.

But here’s the thing. I’m not too good with poetry. It’s like… I don’t know, my mind kind of drifts when I read epic poems. That was my problem with this one when I originally bought it. I tried reading it for a class (no idea what class it was now), but I just couldn’t get into it. Not much has changed. Not gonna lie, I have been reading a few notes online to keep up, because… well, like I said, my mind wanders. So far I’ve finished the Foreword, Canto One, and a few notes from Canto One’s Commentary. It’s not going very well.

The first canto seems to be setting the stage for the rest of it, as stories often do. In it, John Shade talks about his childhood in weird rhymes, which at times feel very childish. They kind of remind me of a kid who is just now learning how rhyming works and thinks they can write poetry. Anyway, John Shade kind of had a crappy childhood. Both his parents were killed, and he was raised by his Aunt Maude, who was a little nutty. He lost his faith and became an artist, and because he was always taking in sights and sounds, he felt like he was trapped by the scenery of the world.

I thought it was funny that he talked about having fainting spells every day for a winter, and that the doctor just attributed them to growing pains. I don’t know, if my hypothetical kid was having fainting spells all the time like that, I’d probably want a better answer than that. But hey… different times, right? It’s also funny that Kinbote (if that is his real name… dun dun dun) keeps trying to figure out how the story is about him. Or… the King of Zembla. Because they’re two totally different people, right? That’s how I’m reading it, anyway.

The more I’m reading of this, the more I keep asking myself what I’ve gotten myself into. I also want to thank my friend Rebekah for telling me to read this first. You’d think it would be an easy first read. It’s short. A poem. Doesn’t seem too difficult. But it’s just not my style so far. We’ll see how the rest goes. I will finish it. Probably going to read more tonight before I go to bed. Maybe try to finish Canto One’s Commentary. Maybe. Big maybe. Ugh.

Have a great weekend you guys!


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