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Laughter in the Dark

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Laughter in the Dark
Laughter
Author
Vladimir Nabokov
Publisher
Bobbs-Merrill Co
Publish Date
1932

Laughter in the Dark is a novel written by Vladimir Nabokov and released in 1932-33.

Publisher's summary

Once upon a time there lived in Berlin, Germany, a man called Albinus. He was rich, respectable, happy; one day he abandoned his wife for the sake of a youthful mistress; he loved; was not loved; and his life ended in disaster." Thus begins Vladimir Nabokov's Laughter in the Dark; and this, the author tells us, is the whole story—except that he starts from here, with his characteristic dazzling skill and irony, and brilliantly turns a fable into a chilling, original novel of folly and destruction. Amidst a Weimar-era milieu of silent film stars, artists, and aspirants, Nabokov creates a merciless masterpiece as Albinus, an aging critic, falls prey to his own desires, to his teenage mistress, and to Axel Rex, the scheming rival for her affections who finds his greatest joy in the downfall of others.

3x08-nabokov-charlie
Charlie takes the book from Sawyer's stash as his reflection appears just above the book. ("Flashes Before Your Eyes")
3x08-nabokov-hurley
Hurley takes the book from Charlie and begins to read it ("Flashes Before Your Eyes")

In Lost


Trivia

General

  • The novel was originally published in 1932, under the Russian title: Камера Обскура. It was translated into English as Camera Obscura in 1936 and then released again with the name Laughter in the Dark in 1938.
  • The novels history is complicated. It was first written in Russian by Nabokov and published in 1932 and 1933. It was later translated into English by Winifred Roy. Nabokov was tormented by the translation and was contracted to re-translate it.
    • The contract read that he was to "translate the said novel into the English Language"; the irony being that the version he was translating was in fact an English rewrite of his original book.

Literary techniques

  • The book's beginning two paragraphs comprise a prologue, an epilogue and a summary, giving away the ending at the start "so as to not be what motivates the reader". (Flashbacks)  (Flashforwards)
    • This non-linear storytelling is something the novel holds in common with Lost.
  • Hurley is seen with the book. The book's name, "Laughter in the Dark", alludes to Hurley's less serious character.

Shared themes

As in his most reckless visions, everything was permissible; a puritan's love, priggish reserve, was less known in this new free world than white bears in Honolulu.

See also

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