Magazine acquires first serial rights to The Original of Laura, the unfinished novel Nabokov wanted to be destroyed
Alison Flood writing in guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 8 July 2009 14.30 BST
He came 22nd in Playboy's list of the most important people in sex – ahead of Erica Jong, behind Hugh Hefner – earlier this year, so perhaps it makes sense that the magazine fought tooth and nail to acquire first serial rights in Vladimir Nabokov's final, unfinished novel, The Original of Laura.
The book, which Nabokov had left instructions for his heirs to burn, tells the story of a man, unhappily infatuated with his promiscuous wife, who had when younger been obsessively in love with a young girl. Nabokov's only surviving heir, Dmitri, decided to publish it last year, and it is lined up to be released this November.
A first glimpse, however, will be available in Playboy, according to the New York Observer, which reported on literary editor Amy Grace Loyd's quest to win serial rights. "I did it with orchids, mostly," Loyd said, sending them to Nabokov's literary agent Andrew Wylie in a reference to Nabokov's novel Ada, which was extracted in Playboy in 1969. The Russian novelist had a long relationship with the magazine, also granting it a lengthy interview in 1964 in which he said that he would "never regret Lolita ... there is a queer, tender charm about that mythical nymphet."