Spring in Fialta
"Spring in Fialta" is a short story written by Vladimir Nabokov in 1936, originally as Весна в Фиальте (Vesna v Fial'te) in Russian, during his exile in Berlin. The English translation was performed by Nabokov and Peter Pertzov. Spring in Fialta is included in Nine Stories and Nabokov's Dozen.
By chance, Victor, the narrator, encounters Nina, a fellow exile, at Fialta, a fictional Mediterranean town on the Riviera. Both are married, and they had met on several occasions over the years since their first kiss in Russia, “at the margins of my life”. She is attractive, seemingly aloof, and ephemeral, and it appears that he harbors amatory feelings for her, but he lacks the full conviction of the feeling of true love. The story recalls past encounters, and relates Victor's deprecatory and possibly jealous views of Ferdinand, her husband, an “arrogant” Franco-Hungarian writer, a “weaver of words”. He declines to join Nina and her husband on a car ride. Shortly thereafter Victor learns that Nina has died in a car crash.
The story incorporates many of Nabokov’s themes and techniques that are present in later novels: recreating events by memory, the issue of reality, relationship to women, the sense of loss, recalling Russia, the relationship to the double, the unreliable narrator, and a narrative flow that is non-chronological. It has been argued that both the narrator as well as Nina’s husband bear resemblances to Nabokov. While the plot is invented it has been suspected that the encounter is a "tangential record" of Nabokov's first extramarital affair. Nabokov's attempts to publish the manuscript in English when in America was met with initial disappointments, he talked about a "boomerang variety of manuscript".
- Field, Andrew. VN The Life and Art of Vladimir Nabokov. Crown Publishers, New York (1986) ISBN 0-517-56113-1
- Schiff, Stacy. Véra (Mrs. Vladim Nabokov). Random House New York (1999). ISBN 0-679-44790-3 (hc.)