Ada or Ardor: a Family Chronicle


“Ada, or Ardor: a Family Chronicle” by Vladimir Nabokov
(First publication: 1969 / This edition: Vintage International 2011)
Taken during a Sunday brunch at It’s Happened to Be a Closet cafe and restaurant

I bought this book back in July 2014, shortly after reading and falling obsessively in love with “Lolita”—naturally I wanted to read more by Nabokov. I remember going on Goodreads and browsing for more titles by him and came across “Ada, or Ardor”. Out of my “friend’s list”, my high school philosophy teacher was (and still is) the only one that has “read” it and he gave it a 5-star rating. I trust his review on books—he recommended to me “Of Human Bondage”, along with a few other great ones.

Now.. .since I bought this book, I’ve picked it up to read three times. And each time, I’d get through about 30-40 pages… and then give up. I feel like the language is “too complicated”—not difficult, just complicated—to understand; so complicated that I just go through 40 pages without having a clue about what I had just read about. And that becomes exhausting, boring, and uninspiring.

Last week I met up with one of my best friends and we were discussing “Lolita”—which I had given her for her birthday. She’s in the middle of it and she loves it (who can’t not love it?); and she was talking about how she was reading “Dracula” earlier but didn’t like it, because of the way it’s written—the way it was written was “adding more stress to her”, whereas “Lolita” was easier to absorb and digest. Now, even though “Ada, or Ardor” is also by Vladimir Nabokov, I feel like it’s written by a completely different author from “Lolita”—I can’t connect to it at all. It was giving me stress because I had to try to “solve” every sentence. Confusion with every sentence just makes it not understandable overall.

It’s such a disappointment.

I have this weird, obsessive desire to want to love ALL his works.

You can understand why… I even went Vladimir Nabokov house-hunting on my first day in St. Petersburg.


Different corners of the quirky restaurant/cafe:





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