This book utterly frustrated me for the first while... I remember reading Annie Dillard
's Living By Fiction
and thinking to myself, "She must be exaggerating... no novel could possibly require note-taking to be enjoyed." And so, having added several titles to my reading list from the selection of works Dillard uses to illustrate the principles of fiction, I picked up Pale Fire
, which quickly proved me wrong about not needing to take notes. After struggling through the first fifty pages or so of the notes to the poem (But this
does require/ Some moondrop
title. Help me, Will!
Pale Fire.), I gave up, got a little notebook, and started sketching out the relations between words and characters and places and things and my impressions about them as I read... there is just no way to keep up with the web of relationships and events in your head. Besides which, it's just easier to appreciate the symmetry of the structure Nabokov used to build his story.
I can safely say that Pale Fire is the first book that has actually made me work, hard! to enjoy it. I can also safely say it was worth the effort. Get a copy of Pale Fire and a notebook - it is quite a rewarding read.