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  • Published: 16 July 2024
  • ISBN: 9781635423808
  • Imprint: Other Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 160
  • RRP: $24.99

A Revolver to Carry at Night

A Novel



Véra Nabokov (1902–1991) was in many ways the epitome of the wife of a great man: keenly aware of her husband’s extraordinary talent, she decided to make his success her ultimate goal, throughout fifty-two years of marriage until his death in 1977. The first reader of his texts, Véra worked as typist and editor. She organized their lives in exile, as they traveled to Berlin, Paris, Switzerland, and, most importantly, the US, where she convinced Vladimir to focus on writing novels in English. She not only controlled the family’s finances and contract negotiations, but also attempted to control his friendships—particularly with women—going so far as to audit his classes.

In a rich, sweeping novel, Monika Zgustova immerses us in the daily life of this remarkable couple, offering insights into their complex personal and professional relationships. Véra considered herself an independent woman, but was she really, when her husband took up so much space? And without Véra, could Nabokov have become one of the twentieth century’s greatest writers?

A captivating, nuanced portrait of the life of Véra Nabokov, who dedicated herself to advancing her husband’s writing career, playing a vital role in the creation of his greatest works.

Véra Nabokov (1902–1991) was in many ways the epitome of the wife of a great man: keenly aware of her husband’s extraordinary talent, she decided to make his success her ultimate goal, throughout fifty-two years of marriage until his death in 1977. The first reader of his texts, Véra worked as typist and editor. She organized their lives in exile, as they travelled to Berlin, Paris, Switzerland, and, most importantly, the US, where she convinced Vladimir to focus on writing novels in English. She not only controlled the family’s finances and contract negotiations, but also attempted to control his friendships—particularly with women—going so far as to audit his classes.

In a rich, sweeping novel, Monika Zgustova immerses us in the daily life of this remarkable couple, offering insights into their complex personal and professional relationships. Véra considered herself an independent woman, but was she really, when her husband took up so much space? And without Véra, could Nabokov have become one of the twentieth century’s greatest writers?

  • Published: 16 July 2024
  • ISBN: 9781635423808
  • Imprint: Other Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 160
  • RRP: $24.99

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Praise for A Revolver to Carry at Night

Praise for Dressed for a Dance in the Snow:

“Magnificent…As one narrative nestles inside another, you can almost feel that living network of Russian cultural survival, which is a matter of friendship and love and learning poems by heart.” Times Literary Supplement

“Vivid…startling…A worthy addition to the literature of the Gulag that also features intimate glimpses of the author of Doctor Zhivago.” Kirkus Reviews

“What extraordinary women and what extraordinary stories are assembled in this unforgettable book. Monika Zgustova brings us the intimate, agonizing experiences of Russia’s survivors of the Gulag: history is alive in these pages.” —Claire Messud, author of The Burning Girl