A superb essay on Nabokov by Martin Amis.
Lolita, Pnin, Despair (1936; translated by the author in 1966), and four or five short stories are immortal. King, Queen, Knave (1928, 1968), Laughter in the Dark (1932, 1936), The Enchanter, The Eye (1930), Bend Sinister (1947), Pale Fire (1962), and Transparent Things are ferociously accomplished; and little Mary (1925), his first novel, is a little beauty. Lectures on Literature (1980), Lectures on Russian Literature (1981), and Lectures on Don Quixote (1983), together with Strong Opinions (1973), constitute the shining record of a pre-eminent artist-critic. And the Selected Letters (1989), the Nabokov-Wilson Letters (1979), and that marshlight of an autobiography, Speak, Memory (1967), give us a four-dimensional portrait of a delightful and honourable man. The vice Nabokov most frequently reviled was “cruelty”. And his gentleness of nature is most clearly seen in the loving attentiveness with which, in his fiction, he writes about animals. A minute’s thought gives me the cat in King, Queen, Knave (washing itself with one hindleg raised “like a shouldered club”), the charming dogs and monkeys in Lolita, the shadow-tailed squirrel and the unforgettable ant in Pnin, and the sick bat in Pale Fire – creeping past “like a cripple with a broken umbrella”.
Incidentally, I no longer read Amis. I did however enjoy this photograph. Notice the full set of Oxford English Dictionaries.