Ending 23 – from a Russian novel published in 1938

The novel ending this time is not to be guessed at. It is a giveaway for the reason that the word at One Single Impression this week is ‘laughter’ – which made me think of light laughter (the kind everyone enjoys) as well as dark laughter … or Laughter in the Dark, the title of a grim earlier novel by Vladimir Nabokov. It was originally written and published in Russian, then translated into English by the author himself and published six years after Kamera Obskura (the title of the Russian original of 1932).

“So that’s all,” he thought quite softly, as if he were lying in bed. “I must keep quiet for a little space and then walk very slowly along that bright sand of pain, toward that blue, blue wave. What bliss there is in blueness. I never knew how blue blueness could be. What a mess life has been. Now I know everything. Coming, coming, coming to drown me. There it is. How it hurts. I can’t breathe…”
He sat on the floor with bowed head, then bent slowly forward and fell, like a big, soft doll, to one side.
Stage-directions for last silenct scene: door – wide open. Table – thrust away from it. Carpet – bulding up at table foot in a frozen wave. Chair – lying close by dead body of man in a purplish brown suit and felt slippers. Automatic pistol not visible. It is under him. Cabinet where the miniatures had been – empty. On the other (small) table, on which ages ago a porcelain ballet-dance stood (later transferred to another room) lies a woman’s glove, black outside, white inside. By the striped soft stands a smart little trunk, with a colored label still adhering to it: “Rouginard, Hôtel Britannia.”
The door leading from the hall to the landing is wide open, too.


About James Steerforth

I am an author of poetry and fiction, translator and painter who loves to have fun with borrowed feathers.
This entry was posted in Literature, Novel, Novel endings, Novelists, Writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Ending 23 – from a Russian novel published in 1938

  1. vixensden says:

    Wow. Amazing writing. I have never read him, but this is so descriptive I may run down to the library and check out the entire novel. Great take on the word too!

  2. maryt says:

    Love this contribution to “One Single Impression,” James! Thank you!

  3. teric says:

    I had forgotten what a great writer he was . Thanks.

  4. meeyauw says:

    I listened to Jeremy Irons read Lolita in the fall. I hear Irons voice here. That’s how beautifully he reads: You never forget. To me now, Nabokov is that voice. This is beautiful.


  5. pieceofpie says:

    excellent post… you’re right…that is dark… he is a very interesting author… now that you have so eloqently placed a great piece i shall have to read the short story… thank you…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.