copyright 1969; Book Club Edition; McGraw-Hill Book Company publishers, New York; hardbound in black boards with embossed lettering on cover and gilt stamp lettering along spine; very good condition with unmarked pages; dust jacket good with very minor edge wear.
Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle is a novel by Vladimir Nabokov published in 1969.
Ada began to materialize in 1959, when Nabokov was flirting with two projects, "The Texture of Time" and "Letters from Terra". In 1965, he began to see a link between the two ideas, finally composing a unified novel from February 1966 to October 1968. The published cumulation would become his longest work. Ada was initially given a mixed reception. But, writing in The New York Times Book Review, noted scholar Alfred Appel called it "a great work of art, a necessary book, radiant and rapturous" and said that it "provides further evidence that he is a peer of Kafka, Proust and Joyce".
Ada tells the life story of a man named Van Veen, and his lifelong love affair with his sister Ada. They meet when she is eleven (soon to be twelve) and he is fourteen, believing that they are cousins (more precisely: that their fathers are cousins and that their mothers are sisters), and begin a sexual affair. They later discover that Van's father is also Ada's and her mother is also his. The story follows the various interruptions and resumptions of their affair. Both are wealthy, educated, and intelligent. Van goes on to become a world-renowned psychologist, and the book itself takes the form of his memoirs, written when he is in his nineties, punctuated with his own and Ada's marginal notes, and in parts with notes by an unnamed editor, suggesting the manuscript is not complete.
The novel is divided into five parts, each shorter in length than the preceding one (Part four being the only exception). As they progress chronologically, this structure evokes a sense of a person reflecting on his own memories, with an adolescence stretching out epically, and many later years simply flashing by.