| Quote #1
This time we had met in warm and misty Fialta, and I could not have celebrated the occasion with greater art, could not have adorned with bright vignettes the list of fate's former services, even if I had known that this was to be the last one; the last one, I maintain, for I cannot imagine any heavenly firm of brokers that might consent to arrange me a meeting with her beyond the grave. (9)
Because we know from (nearly) the beginning of the text that Nina’s going to die, the entire story is infused with a sense of fatalism.
| Quote #2
Windows light up and stretch their luminous lengths upon the dark billowy snow, making room for the reflection of the fan-shaped light above the front door between them. Each of the two side-pillars is fluffily fringed with white, which rather spoils the lines of what might have been a perfect ex-libris for the book of our two lives. (11)
And that’s the thing about memory. Because he’s looking back on these events, Victor is able to imbue them with a sense of fate. At the time, of course, he would have had no reason to see an ex-libris over the front door.
| Quote #3
…and as I watched her in the maze of gestures and shadows of gestures of which the rest of that evening consisted (probably parlour games — with Nina persistently in the other camp)… (12)
Think back to being, oh, seven or eight. How FRUSTRATING is it when that crush of yours always ends up on the OTHER team in tug-of-war or capture the flag or whatever? In this agonizing way, it feels to Victor like fate is conspiring against him and Nina.