Tag Archives: Vladimir Nabokov


What if you slept?

And what if in your sleep, you dreamt?

And what if, in your dream, you went to heaven and there plucked a strange and beautiful flower?

And what if, when you awake, you had the flower in your hand?

Ah, what then?



I don’t think I will be writing anything substantive and meaningful until after 6th June, for my mind is chalked with so many things and numbers – and a recent love for Justice Bao series episodes (though I increasingly grow disillusioned, you should hear my cheeky comments to JRV about the uselessness of Bao’s interventions, how he only knows how to use which chopper on which, and how Gongsun Ce does not even know acupuncture…)




享受人生,虽然是考试时期,但能够尝到美味食物 – 我最爱的“花巻”,有小猫咪陪着,深夜 Esbjörn Svensson Trio (Breadbasket, Mr.and Mrs Handkerchief… Surreal names for a jazz band). ..

Life delights in LIFE.

I try to tell myself MONTAIGNE…There is no desire more natural than the desire for knowledge. We try all the ways to lead to it. When reason fails, we use experience.

I was in Borders that day to choose your birthday present…I thought I knew what I wanted for you but I chose something else. A book you would never be able to guess but I know you will love.

I made sure that there were no marks on the book, not even a scratch, the way you love your books.

I made sure there were no bents on the first cover.

I made sure that it was a book you have not read before, but when you do, that you will feel you have been reading it your whole life.

I made sure it is a book you will fall asleep to (a challenge, not Mills & Boon) and yet something that will give you shivers at strange opportune moments.

But best friend, all the 4 YEARS I’ve known you and what can I say, you are the sort of person I respect yet want to do things to you. Insert example:

(apparently, a real life dog).

You know my secret thoughts before I speak them, you are the muse of my letters and words, you eat xiao long baos without breaking them, you are the Irving of my hoodie, the Schroeder of my youth, the carrot on a snowman, the second helping of Cornish clotted cream, the brilliant law genius, the stomping Shirley Temple, the icing on my pink Singin in the Rain cake, you know the lyrics to all the old, old musicals I love, you court and date Katherine Hepburn, you dance to Fred Astaire, you look at me in the same second when we hear a vintage piece in a movie, you read Kazuo Ishiguro and sigh in the same way you read the Bibimbap Lawyers’ emails, you make the most wonderful 皮蛋瘦肉粥, you are sadistic and yet undeniably sweet, you are the male version of Ramona, yet the admonishing voice of Beatrice, you will be the character that never commits a crime in an Agatha Christie novel, you will watch black and white movies with me, you will hold me even when I am wearing five inch heels and cobbling over Covent Garden to go for Belgium with you, you were London and strawberry pokky, you are the boy whom your chinese teachers love to seduce (so The Graduate)…

and now you just appeared on Skype…so I am leaving to speak to you.



Great first lines of books

“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. “- One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

“May I, Monsieur, offer my services without running the risk of intruding?”- The Fall, Albert Camus
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.- “A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”- The Go-Between, L.P. Hartley
“The best thing would be to write down everything that happens from day to day. “- Nausea, Jean-Paul Sartre
“Fear presides over these memories, a perpetual fear.” – The Plot Against America, Philip Roth
“If I am out of my mind, it’s all right with me, thought Moses Herzog.” – Herzog, Saul Bellow
“I am a sick man… I am an angry man.”- Notes from the Underground, Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“I was the shadow of the waxwing slain//By the false azure in the windowpane” – Pale Fire, Vladimir Nabokov

“The world is what it is; men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it.”– A Bend in the River, V.S. Naipaul

“Every account of the origins of the state starts from the premise that “we” – not we the readers but some generic we so wide as to exclude no one – participate in its coming into being.”– Diary of a Bad Year, J.M. Coetzee

“A story has no beginning or end; arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.”- The End of the Affair, Graham Greene
“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” – 1984, George Orwell
“The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new.”- Murphy, Samuel Beckett
“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”– Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

“Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was arrested.”– The Trial, Franz Kafka

“This is a true story, but I can’t believe it’s really happening.”– London Fields, Martin Amis