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By Vladimir Nabokov

Albinus, a decent, middle-aged guy and aspiring filmmaker, abandons his spouse for a lover part his age: Margot, who desires to develop into a film famous person herself. whilst Albinus introduces her to Rex, an American motion picture manufacturer, catastrophe ensues. What emerges is an elegantly sardonic and irresistibly ironic novel of hope, deceit, and deception, a curious romance set within the movie international of Berlin within the 1930s.

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Sample text

Look at these—they represent Our Lady of the Angels. You see? Take a good look at them. The Virgin’s dress is lovely, every bit of it is stunning, but I don’t know how she manages to have the Virgin’s faces look as evil as her own. I’ll give you some so a bullet won’t cut you down. Keep them with you always; perhaps some nights you will hold them for a while, and because you will believe in the good fortune they bring, you will be lucky. Remember my words . . We fell asleep with the Big Dipper above us.

But in reality, they were the ones who had taken the ham. When their father noticed that the ham was missing, the girls blamed the dog and escaped a good thrashing. They burst out laughing as if they had gone mad. A dull rapping on the wall by the hearth woke me. I pulled on my trousers and opened the door. It was the twins, who started laughing as they always did when they saw me. Camineta, wearing tiny gold earrings, whispered to me to go with them; they needed my help. She was carrying a small lantern.

I walked on calmly. Soon a farmhouse with three haystacks by the threshing floor came into view. On one side there were only fields, on the other, rows and rows of olive trees. Pink carnations hung from the middle balcony of the house. I heard shouting and threw myself on the ground. You vile thing! Miserable rascal! A short, fat man was beating a whimpering dog that cowered beneath him. When the 48 WAR, SO MUCH WAR man tired of striking the dog, he turned and left it there without even a glance, grumbling as he went.

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