Books

A brilliantly wicked piece set in the movie world of Berlin in the early 1930s (LAUGHTER IN THE DARK)

“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. This is the whole of the story and we might have left it at that had there not been profit and pleasure in the telling; and although there is plenty of space on a gravestone to contain, bound in moss, the abridged version of a man’s life, detail is always welcome.”

~ Vladimir Nabokov
This novel has inspired some brilliant artwork. Here is the original 1932 cover published by Sovremennye sapiski reflecting the movie world in which it is set.
Kindle edition published in 2011. I love the sardonic flavor of this cover.

So begins LAUGHTER IN THE DARK (aka Kamera Obscura in the original Russian), Vladimir Nabokov’s sixth novel published in Berlin in 1933. The brilliance of it is that Nabokov tells you what is going to happen in such a way that he still makes you want to read about it. The only other person who carried off the same trick with similar panache is Gabriel Garcia Marquez in his Chronicle of a History Foretold.

LAUGHTER IN THE DARK is a brilliantly wicked piece set in the movie world of Berlin during the early 1930s. I won’t reveal the plot, but suffice it to say that if you’ve enjoyed Lolita, you should enjoy this novel, which has some interesting parallels. Five stars.

Rating: 5 out of 5.