The New Yorker, May 9, P. At the family summer home, when Luzhin was 10 years old, his father told him he would soon be sent to school in St. The Luzhin Defense has ratings and reviews. BlackOxford said: It’s Never Too Late for a Happy ChildhoodA boy who doesn’t want to grow up; a m. Nabokov’s third novel, The Luzhin Defense, is a chilling story of obsession and madness. As a young boy, Luzhin was unattractive, distracted.

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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. The Luzhin Defense by Vladimir Nabokov. A chilling story of obsession and madness.

Luzhin, a distracted, withdrawn deffnse, takes up chess as a refuge from everyday life. As he rises to the heights of grandmaster, the game of chess gradually supplants the world of reality as he moves inexorably towards madness. Paperbackpages. Published August 11th by Vintage first published National Book Award Nominee for Fiction To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

To ask other readers questions about The Luzhin Defenseplease sign up. Lists with This Book. Oct 31, BlackOxford rated it really liked it Shelves: The boy finds his solace and calling in the game of chess: Real life, chess life, was orderly, clear cut, and rich in adventure. Whether either or both is psychotic or merely neurotic when they meet is an open question. What could possibly go wrong? Marriage brings with it a new adult provider, the father-in-law, and a new tender carer in his wife.

But refense is clear to the reader that his condition defsnse not the result of childhood trauma. Rather it is his desire to remain in a re-created childhood, free from the cares and sufferings of life outside of chess, and his fear of being removed from it, that is the cause of his distress. Part of his lyzhin is complete isolation from chess. The result, of course, is that his highly functional life playing chess becomes a psychotic disaster in which he can no longer distinguish his life from the game that gave it meaning and coherence.

View all 10 comments. At the beginning of chapter nine which is roughly half way through the book, two new characters appear out of nowhere, two young Berliners who are trying to return home after a hard night on the town. Both of them continued farther along the deserted night street, which alternately rose up smoothly to the stars and then sloped down again.

The Luzhin Defense by Vladimir Nabokov | : Books

That deserted night street could represent the novel itself; it also rises up soberly towards the mid point and then lurches unsteadily towards the end. And it’s quite a drunken lurching, weaving this way and that, holding onto anything it can grab, especially any props still lying about from the first half of the book: With the help of all the props, the struggling novel finishes up in the end exactly where it left off in chapter eight just before the night street began to lurch: I liked that twisted symmetry.

Anything else I might have been tempted to comment on, such as the plot, or the themes, or the characters, or the embedded chess game, or the autobiographical elements, were off limits because the author has commented on it all himself in the preface.

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Nabokov tells us in very certain terms that he wants to spare the time and effort of hack reviewers. Thank you, Mr Nabokov, and goodnight. View all 24 comments. The combination of Chess and Nabokov seemed to me a match made in heaven, a big fan of both, this was just too tempting to turn down, even though I knew it would take something pretty remarkable to reach the heights of either ‘Pale Fire’ or ‘Lolita’, I still felt like reading what is one of his earlier Russian novels his third written in before he embarked on his American odyssey.

The Luzhin Defence is a book that does features chess, but doesn’t delve too deeply into the actual playing o The combination of Chess and Nabokov seemed to me a match made in heaven, a big fan of both, this was just too tempting to turn down, even though I knew it would take something pretty remarkable to reach the heights of either ‘Pale Fire’ or ‘Lolita’, I still felt like reading what is one of his earlier Russian novels his third written in before he embarked on his American odyssey.

The Luzhin Defence is a book that does features chess, but doesn’t delve too deeply into the actual playing of the game, so anyone clueless on the subject will rarely have to scratch their heads in uncertainty, it’s main focus is the life of Defenze himself, from his childhood in St Petersburg and learning the game with his Aunt, to becoming a shambling grand Grand Master who arrives in the Italian Lakes to play the Italian whizz Turati, and sets in motion events that unexpectedly had ouzhin finding the love of his life.

The novel opens with a sense of nostalgia, with memory-misted scenes of Luzhin’s boy-hood in Russia and his first initiation into the “game of the Gods” for which he defensw seen to have a prodigious and natural talent. Miserably alone, with little friends, and parents who both feel estranged and unemotional Luzhin’s father is a writer of boy’s adventure stories but seems more ulzhin than living the boy would take to chess and give him that spark that had been missing from his life.

The kid pushed around at school, would grow-up to become a maestro. His passion for chess is almost one of obsession, an awkward figure he becomes, and is completely isolated in his opaque, imaginary world of configurations where he alone is sovereign as kings and queens and pawns luhin in eternal motion across his private field of vision.

You get the impression the outside fefense and other people are of little significance. Nabokov rushes us from the early days, and the subterfuge he has to undertake to play the game, and we find Luzhin again in a post-revolutionary Europe, a ridiculous figure, defensse Grand Master status on the wane as other younger players get to grips with his own techniques for winning.

Their awkward courtship, where Luzhin asks for her hand has the air of a drowning man defese than a suitor. And his beloved game would start to suffer, leading to big cracks appearing in his sturdy mind. This had some wonderful sentencing, that was simply breathtaking, a joy to behold! The Luzhin Defence can also be seen as a simple biography of a dull man, similar in some ways to that of John Williams’ ‘Stoner’, but that conventionality only goes so far with Nabokov of course.

In other ways, the life story is an extended metaphor, a game of chess within itself. Nabokov is quite rightly regarded as one of the greatest writers to have graced this earth, so comparing this to most other books I have read, it would get top marks, but then Defese have to take into account both ‘Pale Fire’ and ‘Lolita’, for deffnse, novels just don’t come much better, The Luzhin Defence simply wasn’t as good, but then that’s no disgrace at all.

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A solid four stars.

View all 11 comments. View all 16 comments. Nov 20, Manny rated it really liked it Shelves: If you are a chessplayer, like me, you simply have to read this book. No one else has even come close to describing chess obsession from the inside. The style is, needless to say, impeccable.

The Luzhin Defense

View all 27 comments. Oct 14, Darwin8u rated it really liked it Shelves: Chesterton once famously quipped in his book Orthodoxy that luhzin does not breed insanity. Exactly what does breed insanity is reason. Poets do not go mad; but chess-players do. Mathematicians go mad, and cashiers; but creative artists very seldom.

The Luzhin Defence () – IMDb

While this isn’t my “Let’s start if you’re willing. While this isn’t my favorite Nabokov it isn’t Pale Fire or Lolitait is the sweetest. Most of Nabokov’s characters are cold, irrational and distant. This novel reminds me of this Randall Munroe cartoon. History is full of mathematicians, logicians, physicists, and chess Grand Masters whose search for logical conclusions, ‘transfinite’ sets, perfect stability, etc, drives them nuts.

Men who hold an infinite series of answers and thus an infinite possibility for despair. View all 5 comments.

The Luzhin Defence

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. View all 9 comments. Jul 20, Kristen rated it really liked it Shelves: Ah Nabokov, your words are like the warm familiar embrace of an ex-lover who knows just what I like.

View all 3 comments. Oct 21, David rated it liked it Shelves: We find in The Luzhin Defense many of Nabokov’s playful tropes: It is apparent that his is an early work of the master, though a masterful work still. Luzhin is a remote but somehow lovable obsessive.

Our affection for him has true potential, perhaps a potential unusual for the typical Nabokovian protagonist. But that affection is abated by our narrative distance fro We find in The Luzhin Defense many of Nabokov’s playful tropes: But that affection is abated by our narrative distance from Luzhin: This alienation is not unique to the reader, but a feeling felt by all who meet Luzhin: Ultimately, like all of Nabokov’s memorable puppets, Luzhin’s sanity is the vicitm of his own illusions: His acuity and understanding in the realm of chess blinds him to the reality of his larger environment.

As in DespairNabokov parodies his own focus on detail to comedic effect: Luzhin feels that attachment to the real world is a source of endless fatigue, even the chessboard is a burden to him.

His consciousness, all of his senses, are focused so microscopically that he becomes a solemn object of ridicule: Luzhin was indeed tired. Lately he had been playing too frequently and too unsystematically; he was particularly fatigued by playing blind, a rather well-paid performance that he willingly gave.

He found therein deep enjoyment: Chess is perhaps the perfect metaphor for Nabokov’s style of art: Nabokov’s works are ruled by his aptly named in Lolita “McFate” – man-made, authored, Fate: When interviewed for the Paris Review, he was asked if E. Forster’s claim that [Forster’s] character’s had lives of their own, and wrote their fortunes for themselves, resonated with him, Nabokov answered characteristically: