Landon Jones’s NY Times article “On the Trail of Nabokov in the American West” is in the travel section, and it is in fact much more about travel than literature, but hey, it’s Nabokov, and I can’t resist passing it along. It’s got evocative photos and some piquant bits about Vlad and Vera:
And what would Nabokov have made of this sign: IF YOU DIE TONIGHT HEAVEN OR HELL? Followed by this one: GARY’S GUN SHOP.
As it happens, Véra Nabokov once packed a Browning .38 revolver in her purse. When she applied for her license to carry one, she explained primly that it was “for protection in traveling in isolated parts of the country in the course of entomological research.” She wasn’t kidding. Nabokov killed a large rattlesnake during their 1953 trip to Portal, Ariz.
So I pass it along for those who may enjoy it, but I would advise against taking anything it says on trust, since it makes the idiotic statement that Lolita “was first published in 1955 in England,” easily refuted by a cursory glance at Wikipedia, which explains (as I would have thought every schoolboy knew) that it was first published in France by Olympia Press, and by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in London only in 1959. I realize it’s only the travel section, but still, someone at the Times should have caught that.