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A canto by Shade ...
and an unreliable commentary by Kinbote
I read this as the book nominated for April by The Rooster Goodreads book discussion group. My first book club! This is a reading group for those suffering withdrawals after the Tournament Of Books.
“… like a fiery rooster seems to flap his wings in a preparatory burst of would-be inspiration, but the sun does not rise.”
This quote is just right! After all, this is for The Rooster group and maybe discussions could get fiery … and I am glad that I exposed myself some would-be inspiration … but for me the sun did not rise!
I enjoyed it but it didn’t grab me. I enjoy a slow reveal; I enjoy an unreliable narrator; I enjoy a satire; I enjoy extending my vocabulary. Pale Fire had it all but I found I was keen to get finished and be done with it. Maybe this was to do with starting my reading too late so that others had already started commenting and I felt I was lagging behind??! Maybe it is because I am not overly into analysing and second-guessing the author’s motives and machinations, too much of a literal reader.
My favourite lines from Shade's canto:
“How many more Free calendars shall grace the kitchen door?”
“Summer was power-mowed, and autumn, burned.”
and, of course,
"I was the shadow of the waxwing slain
by the false azure in the windowpane;"
I think my favourite Kinbote–isms were :
“a cricket cricked” or “Thither trudged our thug.” or “He was a regular faunlet.”
“for better or worse, it is the commentator who has the last word.”