The grocer opposite had a little daughter whose shadow drove me mad; but with Valeria's help I did find after all some legal outlets to my fantastic predicament. As to cooking, we tacitly dismissed the pot-au-feu and had most of our meals at a crowded place in rue Bonaparte where there were wine stains on the table cloth and a good deal of foreign babble. And next door, an art dealer displayed in his cluttered window a splendid, flamboyant, green, red, golden and inky blue, ancient American estampe - a locomotive with a gigantic smokestack, great baroque lamps and a tremendous cowcatcher, hauling its mauve coaches through the stormy prairie night and mixing a lot of spark-studded black smoke with the furry thunder clouds.
Vladimir Nabokov. 1955. Lolita. Penguin. p 27
Tomorrow, much to my chagrin, I have to return Lolita to the library. But the plan is to re-borrow it again next year for a re-trial, giving it all the time and attention it deserves.
I couldn't return it without sharing this passage. I guess in the grand scheme of the plot its an insignificant moment, but it's just so beautifully described that I swooned over it anyway. The last sentence is my favourite, that heady image of spark-studded black smoke under furry thunder clouds. It's so sumptuous.
Anyhow, tomorrow I will open the discussion on Cloudstreet by Tim Winton, the modern Australian classic. It is bound to be a treat.