Books: I Have Never Seen a More Lucid, More Lonely, Better Balanced Mad Mind Than Mine: Nabokov

The Nabokovs have lived in Montreux for nine years. Recently, TIME Reporter Martha Duffy visited them there. Here are a few of her impressions:

"Choughs! Choughs! Alpine choughs!

A little black bird with a yellow bill. A lacquered yellow bill. And red feet."

"Oh, chuffs," the heedless visitor says.

"Aren't they crows?"

"A crow? a CROW? No, no, no, no, no, my goodness no, not a crow at all. They emit a beautiful sound, a sort of kissing sound—chwink, chwink—which a crow cannot even approach. Pity is that they do it right on my window sill...

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