Top positive review
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Strange and prophetic
on August 31, 1999
I first read this book as a student in the 1960's and was puzzled but liked it. It seemed, to quote Nabokov, a violin in a void. Suddenly in 1989 I realised it is a prophecy about the Fall of Communism, its symbolism very close to what actually happened: the State and its ideology - once wielding real power and terror- have withered to an absurd shell, its rewards and blandisments have someting of senile infantilism about them, only its power as a death-dealer is apparently undiminished. The victim, Cincinnatus, suddenly realises he has had enough, stands up and comes to his senses and the whole idiotic apparatus of oppression crumbles to dust. It could have been the story of Prague, Budapest, Warsaw or East Berlin in 1989. My favourite Nabakov, it is a beautiful, haunting and unforgettable piece of writing.