Speak, Memory

Ranked #45 in Writers, Ranked #55 in Memory Improvementsee more rankings.

From one of the twentieth century's great writers comes one of the finest autobiographies of our time. Speak, Memory is Vladimir Nabokov's moving account of a loving, civilized family, of adolescent awakenings, flight from Bolshevik terror, education in England, and émigré life in Paris and Berlin. The Nabokovs were eccentric, liberal aristocrats who lived a life immersed in politics and literature on splendid country estates until their world was swept away by the Russian Revolution when the author was eighteen years old. Speak, Memory vividly evokes a vanished past in the... more

Reviews and Recommendations

We've comprehensively compiled reviews of Speak, Memory from the world's leading experts.

Anne Applebaum I still think it’s one of the most beautiful memoirs ever written. Although it’s not about the Russian revolution as such, it is permeated with a sense of loss and exile, as are all of Nabokov’s books. He evokes gorgeous countryside scenes of pre-revolutionary Russia, but at the same time has some distance from it – he recognises the awfulness of what he at one point calls his rather appalling country at the same time. (Source)

Eva Hoffman I love it for several reasons. First, it made me feel that it is possible to give written form to nostalgia. The lyrical affirmation of that was quite important to me. Secondly, his preoccupation with language. I kept looking for books which talk about language, and at the end of the book Nabokov has a dedication to the Russian language, or an invocation of it and his incredibly poignant loss of it. (Source)

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