chapter  XXIV
Nabokov’s Bend Sinister 1
Pages 7

Nabokov finds all contemptible and an obstacle to aesthetic bliss. And that is why his fiction is uniformly fantastic; everything in it is a kind of joke. Nabokov's genre is, in fact, tragic farce. There is a slight resemblance to Graham Greene, who also has the power to see through a joke into an abyss; but a stronger resemblance to Sterne. But this is not Nabokov's way. Bend Sinister is not finally wanton, any more than Sterne was. There is a pretty rigorous subordination of all these stunts and rhetorical exercises to the shape of the whole. A theological issue of importance, the border territory between Krugs and Paduks. It is not settled; it is interrupted by the sinister duality of organ-grinders and the entry of the police. when reading Bend Sinister it is vital to remember that its author would label a book about the oppression of the human spirit by a stupid and brutal government 'topical trash'.