assorted jellies

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“As a master of the eccentric metaphor, the great Russian-American novelist Vladimir Nabokov used food to fine effect in his writing,” says writer Nina Martyris.

There was, for instance, that one word he used to capture the texture, tinge and luster of his watery green eyes — “oysterous.” And that icky image in Lolita, of motel floors burnished with the “golden-brown glaze of fried-chicken bones,” that somehow made those shiny floors complicit in the squalor of pedophilia.

But when it came to eating, he really couldn’t be bothered.  Nabokov’s paradoxical relationship with food — his sumptuous use of it as a writer and his serene indifference to it as an eater — is vividly apparent in the recently published Letters to Véra, a collection of the missives he wrote to his beloved wife over 50-odd years.

Read more about Nabokov’s boiled-milk skies, his apricot fetish and the joys of miniature assorted jellies here.

– Petra

Strings

It had been 3 weeks, 5 days, and 15 hours since it had appeared.

Soulmate strings were not anything new, part of the evolutionary scale that had occurred and something the nations had adapted to over time. For humans of course, nations didn’t have soulmates, they pretended it didn’t bother them and it didn’t for some. It was par the course, or it had been until the moment America had been giving another pointless speech in England’s opinion when the sun had caught one of his hands just right illuminating the unmistakable red tint dancing across his hand. Of course America hadn’t noticed, but England had his attention drawn like a moth to a flame. His eyes had traced the route, but it disappeared before he could see where it ended, still he was left stunned in his seat.

This wasn’t possible, England’s heartbeat had begun to escalate his brain unable to focus on anything else. America had a soulmate, his America had a soulmate, and then as if America could sense his distress his eyes moved to him locking with his own and that was all it took. The red string shimmered brightly and became tinged with a gold glow as it ran straight across the table to England. He spared a glance down to see the intricate little wrapping around his finger amazed at it.

Everything stilled; the silence in the room deafening. Then all at once the room was filled with murmurs. England didn’t catch much beyond a couple of words. He wanted to see America’s expression, but he found that he couldn’t look up; his hands were gripping the table. This wasn’t possible. Nations didn’t have soulmates-they just didn’t! He needed air, he needed time away from the bustling noise that was filling his ears. He shot up from his seat not sure what he was even going to do. He knew all eyes were on him and he could feel a particular set burning into him.

“I need to use the loo.” His voice was monotone before he bolted from the room. He wasn’t even sure why he was running and even more baffled by the feel of tears prickling at his eyes. What he really didn’t expect however was to be chased, but he could hear the unmistakable sound of shoes on marble running after him. It only made him speed up his brain too loopy to decipher what they were yelling at him until they caught his arm. He felt the glow of the string and knew who it had to be. He looked up his eyes terrified at what they’d find.

Nations didn’t have soulmates, but somehow America was his.  

One thing always bugged me about Skin Game

Who brought the donuts at Nicodemus’s meeting?

Because personally I really like the idea of Nicodemus Archleone, millennium old leader of the Order of Blackened Denarius and host of a fallen angel strolling into a doughnut shop, looking at the display and telling the cashier.

“I need two dozen doughnuts. Are those apple fritters? Some of those and a few of those with sprinkles as well. Plus an assortment of the jelly filled.”