Bend Sinister Author:Vladimir Nabakov Intro: Bend Sinister was the first novel I wrote in America, and that was half a dozen years after she and I had adpoted each other. The greater part of this book was composed in the winter and spring of 1945-1946, at a paticularly cloudless and vigorous period of my life. My health was excellent. My daily consumption of cigarettes had reached ... more »the four pack mark. I slept at least four or five hours, the rest of the night walking pencil in hand about the dingy little flat in Craigie Circle, Cambridge Massacheusttes, where I lodged under an old lady eith feet of stone and above a young woman with hypersensitive hearing. Every day including sundays,I would spend up to 10 hours studying the structure of butterflies in the laboratorial paradise of the Harvard Museum of Comparitive Zoology; but three times a week I stayed there only til noon and then tore myself away from microscope and camera lucida to travel to Wellesly (by tram and bus, or subway and railway), where I taught college girls Russian grammer and literature.
The book was finished on a warm rainy night, more or less as described at the end of chapter eighteen. The term "Bend Sinister" means a heraldic bar or band drawn from the left side. The choice of title was an attempt to suggest an outline broken by refraction, a distortion in the mirror of being, a wrong turn taken by life, a sinsiter and sinistral world. The title's drawback is that a solemn reader looking for "general ideas" or "human interest" (wich is much the same thing) in a novel may be led to look for them in this one.« less