A Revolver to Carry at Night: A Novel (Paperback)

A Revolver to Carry at Night: A Novel By Monika Zgustova, Julie Jones (Translated by) Cover Image
By Monika Zgustova, Julie Jones (Translated by)
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A captivating, nuanced portrait of the life of Véra Nabokov, who dedicated herself to advancing her husband’s writing career, playing a vital role in the creation of his greatest works.

Véra Nabokov (1902–1991) was in many ways the epitome of the wife of a great man: keenly aware of her husband’s extraordinary talent, she decided to make his success her ultimate goal, throughout fifty-two years of marriage until his death in 1977. The first reader of his texts, Véra worked as typist and editor. She organized their lives in exile, as they traveled to Berlin, Paris, Switzerland, and, most importantly, the US, where she convinced Vladimir to focus on writing novels in English. She not only controlled the family’s finances and contract negotiations, but also attempted to control his friendships—particularly with women—going so far as to audit his classes.

In this rich, sweeping novel, Monika Zgustova immerses us in the daily life of this remarkable couple, offering insights into their complex personal and professional relationships, as well as the real people behind characters such as Lolita. Véra considered herself an independent woman, but was she really, when her husband took up so much space? And without Véra, could Nabokov have become one of the twentieth century’s greatest writers?

About the Author

Monika Zgustova is an award-winning author whose works have been published in more than ten languages. She was born in Prague and studied comparative literature in the United States (University of Illinois and University of Chicago). She then moved to Barcelona, where she writes for El País, The Nation, and CounterPunch, among others. As a translator of Czech and Russian literature into Spanish and Catalan—including the writing of Havel, Kundera, Hrabal, Hašek, Dostoyevsky, Akhmatova, Tsvetaeva, and Babel—Zgustova is credited with bringing major twentieth-century writers to Spain. Her book Dressed for a Dance in the Snow: Women’s Voices from the Gulag (Other Press, 2020) was a World Literature Today Notable Translation of the Year.

Julie Jones is Professor Emeritus of Spanish at the University of New Orleans. She has published widely on the Latin American writers of the “Boom,” with a focus on Luis Buñuel’s work, in numerous articles for journals such as Cineaste and Cinema Journal.

Praise For…

“Absorbing…This slim, immersive novel cleverly examines the interior experiences of Véra Nabokov as she supports her famous husband’s literary career.” —Shelf Awareness

“A literary delight. Monika Zgustova’s A Revolver to Carry at Night gives voice to the nearly forgotten story of Véra, wife of renowned author Vladimir Nabokov. This is just the kind of novel I love—one that illuminates the significance of a strong, historical woman so that her sacrifices and victories are written and remembered.” —Sarah McCoy, New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of The Baker’s Daughter

“What a fascinating, intimate look into the complex marriage of Nabokov and his wife, Véra, the woman not only behind the man but making the man—without her, his masterpieces might not have been written. With elegant, precise language Zgustova creates a vivid, provocative portrayal of this passionate, enduring relationship. I couldn’t put it down.” —Jeanne Mackin, author of Picasso’s Lovers

“Vladimir Nabokov once said that without his wife, he wouldn’t have written a single novel. That certainly feels true in Monika Zgustova’s brilliant A Revolver to Carry at Night, in which Véra Nabokov emerges as a strong, formidable figure who left her mark on every aspect of her husband’s professional and personal lives. A fearless, intimate portrait of the Nabokovs’ complicated marriage and creative partnership, this is historical fiction at its finest.” —Whitney Scharer, author of The Age of Light

“A provocative take on an intriguing marriage.” —Kirkus Reviews
Product Details
ISBN: 9781635423808
ISBN-10: 1635423805
Publisher: Other Press
Publication Date: April 16th, 2024
Pages: 160
Language: English