• Chip Kidd

A gallery of Nabokov's book covers, redesigned for display in specimen boxes. I like Despair.

Nabokov's final, unfinished book, The Original of Laura, comes out next week—his son Dmitiri decided at last to defy his father's wishes and publish the thing. From the last lines of Dmitri's intro, after he's explained that he doesn't feel his father would really mind the book being published after so long:

"But why, Mr. Nabokov, why did you really decide to publish Laura?

Well, I am a nice guy, and, having noticed that people the world over find themselves on a first-name basis with me as they empathize with 'Dmitri's Dilemma,' I felt it would be kind to alleviate their sufferings."

The book reproduces each of the index cards on which Nabokov wrote Laura, with the text transcribed underneath, and the cards are perforated, though I can't imagine why anyone would remove them from what really is a beautiful book. It's nice workaround (or concession, at least) to the "he didn't want it published" problem—and to the fact that the book wasn't finished, and from early reviews, isn't particularly coherent.

Slideshow via Bookslut.