Piecing Together Nabokov's Last Novel

Piecing together Nabokov's last novel, The Original of Laura

Carl Mydans / TIME & LIFE Pictures / Getty

Author Vladimir Nabokov

Even by the standards of genius, Vladimir Nabokov's work habits were odd. He wrote much of Lolita in the backseat of the family car, a black 1946 Oldsmobile. (He said it was the only spot in America where he wasn't plagued by noise and drafts.) He didn't use regular paper. Instead he wrote in pencil on index cards, which his wife Vera later typed up for him.

Nabokov spent his last years in a grand hotel in Montreux, Switzerland--after Lolita he could afford it--working on a novel called The Original of Laura. But he died before he could finish it, leaving...

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