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riley

riley

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The Belief in a Just World: A Fundamental Delusion
Melvin Lerner

Bend Sinister (Penguin Modern Classics)

Bend Sinister (Penguin Modern Classics) - Vladimir Nabokov This is pretty great overall. It appears to be a parody of the Orwell, Huxley, Koestler “topical trash” that Nabokov supposedly despised. Now, I am a fan of all that stuff, but this is still pretty dead on. Dead on both in mocking such literature and also in making the very same point as that literature, and often in an even funnier way. I'm still not sure how I feel about the ending. I know he foreshadows it, but I still don't know that it works for the subject. I think it would work better if it was as arbitary, and as meta, but different. I am trying not to spoil it. Let's just say that it would have worked better if the ending was a little more Blow Up. A note on the debate: I think Nabokov is clearly a better writer than Orwell or Koestler, though I would hardly say that he is a better writer than Huxley (though I think Bend Sinister is a better novel than Brave New World...BNW is hardly Huxley's best by any means), but that doesn't make Orwell's or Koestler's works insignificant or trash. Sometimes something that seems obvious to some, either in retrospect or because they happen to be a little more perceptive at the time, is not obvious to most people. Such was (and is) the danger of the “total” state. The way to convince people of this danger is, whether literary snobs like it or not, through fables and through accessible fiction. Bend Sinister is hardly accessible. Koestler and especially Orwell succeed by making their stories accessible and more universal than literature that is primarily concerned with aesthetics. As condemnations of possibly the worst evil we have ever known, Orwell is better and more important, regardless of whether his style is as good, or as innovative, as Nabokov.