New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1962. First edition. Fine book with bright gilt to spine. Red topstain lightly sunned. Unclipped jacket in VG+ condition, with sunning to spine resulting in loss of flames and near loss of Nabokov. Small closed tear to top of front panel; glue stains to flaps of jacket front and rear. A nice copy of a difficult book to find in collectible condition.
"On first read, Pale Fire is a book that appears to be a different book entirely. It takes the form of a long biographical poem written by the eminent and recently deceased poet John Shade, followed by several hundred pages of annotations by Shade's friend and fellow professor Charles Kinbote. Very quickly, an astute reader becomes aware of three things: 1) Kinbote is unstable. 2) Kinbote is convinced that Shade's poem 'Pale Fire' is not about Shade at all but about Kinbote's own delusional history as the exiled king of the (possibly fictional) country of Zembla. 3) Kinbote's 'interpretation' of the poem takes over the book and, in effect, becomes the novel. Pale Fire is thus many things: a blistering satire of academia and ivory-tower cluelessness; a breathless tale of escape and adventure over snowy mountain ranges; a mystery novel; a heartbreaking memoir; a closeted lament; a rumination on the afterlife; probably a suicide note; and possibly a ghost story as well" (Burr). A modern classic and an enduring part of Nabokov's legacy. Fine in Very Good + dust jacket. (Item #3380)