"Albinus was rich, respectable, happy...he loved, was not loved, and his life ended in disaster".(Nabokov 1)
Nabokov, Russian author and playwright, the genius behind the famous Lolita, has a definite art in storytelling, and Laughter in the Dark (1936) is no exception. Thirty nine short chapters detail the devastating impact of one loyal man's slip into the world of an affair, leaving his loyal, caring wife and daughter for a scheming, money-hungry, gorgeous woman that can give him the one attribute his wife lacks - passion.
Deceit. Loyalty.Reality. Illusion. Nabokov takes the simplest, overdone themes and turns them into a page-turning, gripping novel. Albinus, a film maker, meets Margot in the theatre; Margot re-encounters her ex-lover, Axel Rex in the cinema as well. Albinus, blind with passionate love, (and later literally blind) fails to see Margot's deceit; Margot seeks his hand in marriage and his wealth, both of which she deceives herself into believing she will have. Enveloped in realism, this novel destroys the notion of a "perfect family" and reveals perverse secrets in a dark, dark,violent tale.
We're already three months into the year and I realize this is my first book review of 2012! The others I've read in pieces, admittedly most so I can better help my students and edit their papers, but once I finish them, there'll be full reviews on L'etranger by Albert Camus (French philosopher), Perfume by Patrick Suskind (German author), Linda Barry's illustrated novel about a drug-addicted teen, Cruddy and hopefully, Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Every book I read this year leads me towards dedicating a few weeks this summer to starting my own creative creation. Stay tuned for upcoming novel reviews!