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Jun 15Liked by ETHAN IVERSON

I was amazed to see Gaitskill's description of her first encounter with Pale Fire, as it closely mirrors my own. I was a bit younger than she, maybe 19, but looking back on it I realize how utterly unprepared I was to get anywhere close to the levels of depth and meaning of this incredible work. Yet I too was completely seduced by its language, which shimmers off every page. Somehow it reached me on what felt like a very deep level, though I certainly couldn't have known what Nabokov was talking about. Years later, a friend who had seemed to me to be a pretty smart, multi-layered human being insisted that there were too many important crises to be dealt with in the world, and to my astonishment declared that he couldn't waste any time reading fiction, to keep up with everything he only read non-fiction. I told him I believe that one learns more that is important about life from fiction than from non-fiction. When he challenged me to prove it, I gave him a copy of Pale Fire. For whatever reason, he never raised the subject again! So funny that, though I was certainly in the dark about its meaning, I had given him Pale Fire purely on the basis of how much it had moved me.

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