The Unreal Life of Sergey Nabokov
An extensive look at the life of Sergey Vladimirovich Nabokov, the gay brother of the famed Russian author of classics like Lolita (Penguin, 1955). In spite of serving as the basis for numerous gay characters in Vladimir's fiction, he was a lifelong embarrassment to his elder sibling. Russell's well-researched novel explores this tense fraternal relationship, beginning with their childhood, when the Nabokov family were forced to flee Russia during the Revolution. Sergey's story provides an important window into both the Nabokov family and the gay experience.
"Paul Russell's "The Unreal Life of Sergey Nabokov: A Novel" builds upon those dazzling days between the overthrow of the Russian Tsar and the rise of the Third Reich. Through the perspective of the real, but little-known Sergey Nabokov, younger brother of Lolita's creator, Vladimir Nabokov, Russell brings his readers on a wild romp through the gay and artistic cliques that were changing the face of the art and literary worlds in the 1920s and 30s."
The title of Paul Russell's splendid new novel, "The Unreal Life of Sergey Nabokov," hints at its contents...."The Unreal Life" bears a resemblance to Woody Allen's movie "Midnight in Paris." Russell solves a problem that defeated Allen. In "Midnight in Paris," Gertrude Stein's speech lacks the head-scratching repetitions that coil through her books. Russell, though, captures the Stein style beautifully, as in this reply to a help-me letter from Sergey, sent from Berlin late in the war: "Miss Stein knows she knew