The book tackles marriage as well. About how a husband and a wife could fall victims to marriage if it's the wrong kind. One can easily feel for Flora, the young wife imprisoned in marriage to an old man she doesn't love. One can feel for Wild as well, who has to deal with not only this loveless marriage but also a lot of health issues throughout his life.
Flora's and Wild's years of marriage are marked by her frequent leaving and returning to their home, her monthly visits to his door, often to ask whether or not he’s sent the money she asked for. He knows of her indiscretions. From his room where he lies bedridden, he can hear her making love with one of her lovers on the living room couch. But what else can a young woman do with her available years if married to a man who is bedridden?
The book deals with a dead marriage and the process of dying itself, in a manner that is both poetic and painful. (I remember Lolita. That eloquent, perverted other book by Navokov that feels sinfully addicting when read.)
This is my first time to read a book where photos of the author’s original handwritten work are shown alongside the cleaned-up, typewritten version. They published everything unedited, giving the reader access to the author in his rawness.
Before he died, Navokov instructed his son Dmitri to destroy this book and not publish it. Dmitri defied the order and went ahead with publishing. A lot of people think he should not have done so. I have mixed feelings regarding this. Reading the book feels like I am assaulting Navokov. But it also would not have felt right to not have read the book, to have been deprived of something profoundly beautiful.
Lastly, I don’t know why people think this book is unfinished. What are they looking for? Excuse my wondering because I am slightly illiterate when it comes to books. Yes, I love reading, but I know very little about the technicalities of book writing, of what makes a book a complete one. To me, it is already complete. And perfect as it is, even with its imperfections.