Mr Nabokov writes in way easy to free reader from stereotypes, prejudices and boredoom. This time, "Invitation to a Beheading" is the story of Cincinnatus, a prisioner who has been condemened to death penalty because a crime that is not mentioned, only suggested, in the book.
Nabokov's novels tend to focus on good fiction; however, metaphor is used in a fancy and efficient way. Cincinnatus has feature, he is able to be transparent. If it is a symbol or a fact is not clear in the text; however, the main character tends to disengage his body and let the light pass through his body.
Surrounded by ridiculous characters that try to be kind, Cincinnatus keeps his dignity and keeps his temperant attitude. He is introduced to Monsieur Pierre, a extremely courteous man. The prisioner is honest, the partner is friendly.
Cincinnatus is under the pressure of director and guards will. He has the habit to read; actually, there is a book that particularly interested him: Quercus, which tells the story of a tree a long history. It witness of world changes.
The story is told in a funny voice. In spite of its merry and simple narrator style, it is unavoidable to feel touched by conversation between Cincinnatus and his mother, Cecilia C. It is supposed to be a comedy or a soft story but cruel Nabokov takes the reader to the heart of an abandoned child whose mother tries to give relief.
"...'Why do you tell me all this?' asked Cincinnatus.
She was silent.
'What's the point of all this? Don't you know that one of these days, perhaps tomorrow...'
He suddenly noticed the expression in Cecilia C's eyes. -Just for an instant, an instant- but i was as if something real, unquestionable (in this world, where everything was subject to question), had passed through, as if a corner of this horrible life had curled up..."
Cincinnatus reveals in a letter to his wife the relationship they had. It was horrible according the writer. In spite of the straightforward tone of the text, she visits him. Of course, it is suggested she has had sex with the director in order to break the rules. She also does it naturally with one guard. It is told in a delicate ang comic language.
Finally, Monsieur Pierre reveals he is the person who is going to kill Cincinnatus. He has pretended to be a prisioner in order to get Cincinnatus friendship and esteem. The prisioner is near death. He walks in dark places and some beautiful literarian details may be appreciated. For example, when he walks he is able to read "ffice". I consider it a genuine way to express in words the effect of walking fast and barely read an inscription.
When Cincinnates is conceded his final desire, he wishes to have 3 minutes to think. He wonder about what he is living. He becomes big and the executioner small. He walks and leave the place.
I LOVE YOU NABOKOV