Like Kafka's The Castle, Invitation to a Beheading embodies a vision of a bizarre and irrational world. In an unnamed dream country, the young man Cincinnatus C. is condemned to death by beheading for "gnostical turpitude", an imaginary crime that defies definition. Cincinnatus spends his last days in an absurd jail, where he is visited by chimerical jailers, an executioner who masquerades as a fellow prisoner, and by his in-laws, who lug their furniture with them into his cell. When Cincinnatus is led out to be executed. he simply wills his executioners out of existence. They disappear, along with the whole world they inhabit.
©1935 Vladimir Nabokov (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
"Nabokov writes prose the only way it should be written, that is, ecstatically." (John Updike)
But I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - J.D. Salinger ^(;,;)^
Nabokov's violin playing in the void of a totalitarian nightmare. Invitation to a Beheading belongs in those 20th Century novels by Orwell, Huxley, Kafka and Koestler that explore the individual revolting against an absurd totalitarianism. Cincinnatus C is an opaque prisoner being punished by a translucent society for his gnostical turpitude. With a Gogol-like playfulness and a Kafkaesque absurdity and a linqusitic inventiveness that belongs solely to Nabokov,
'Invitation to a Beheading' explores the many ways the state (and society) acts to destroy or force conformity on those whose vision is different. Beware those who transgress social norms, your days are both numbered ... and infinite
Narration--excellent. I've read several of his books and liked them all. This is an unconventional tale. If you like Kafka you'll like this.
The story itself is good. It is interesting and thought provoking. The narrators gravel voice distracts form the tale and was not pleasant. It was very difficult to get past this and get into the book. I would read the authors other books instead of listening to this narrator again.
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