12. #PopsugarReadingChallenge: Ada
Popsugar Reading Challenge category: A book whose title is a palindrome
Book: Ada, by Vladimir Nabokov
This is a weird book.
Nabokov, of course, is best known for Lolita. In Ada, there's also a fixation with adolescent sex, but at least in this case it's consensual and with another teenager. It's partly a spoof of tragic Russian novels where everyone has too many names, partly a surreal alternate-world story, and mostly a story where the reader is meant to root for the forbidden love. Ada and Ivan ("Van") are officially cousins, but because of parental adultery and a baby switch, they're actually siblings, a fact that they both figure out early on. This does not stop them from a love affair that starts as preteens and continues into their 80s or 90s.
I'm not exactly sure why the surreal bits are in there (it's set in an alternate history where the countries are divided up differently, and electricity is not used but water-powered devices fill many of the same functions). And, being Nabakov, there's a lot of multilingual wordplay that's hard to keep track of. There's also a lengthy meditation on the nature and meaning of time, as Van looks back on his life.
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