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  • In St. Petersburg, we stayed for a few days in an apartment right across from the Vladimir Nabokov Museum. I never got to see the inside of it, because the schedules didn't match, but what counted for me was the simple fact that I was just a hundred yards away from the place where he used to live.

    (It's a strange thing, isn't it, this reverence for the physical mementos, the reason people would pay a fortune for a shirt of John Lennon in an auction, the reason why I stick to books with leaves I can hold in my hands, but this is the stuff we are made of, I can't help it.)

    Nabokov is someone I look up to because he became a master in his second language -- or was it the third, because of his forays in French?
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