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Spring in Fialta

Spring in Fialta


by Vladimir Nabokov

Ferdinand Timeline and Summary

  • We learn that Nina is married to a man named Ferdinand when she tells Victor that he is in Fialta as well, along with Segur.
  • Victor recalls his disappointment when he learned that Nina was to be married.
  • Victor explains that Ferdinand is a Franco-Hungarian writer who he thinks is a hack. He is "lean and arrogant," and prides himself on being "a weaver of words." More concerned with prose itself than the meaning behind it, Ferdinand has no understanding of human truth.
  • Nina probably hasn’t read a full volume of his work, ventures Victor.
  • Victor recalls the first time he met Ferdinand, in a café in Paris. The man was surrounded by his posse of pseudo-intellectuals and fellow hacks, ridiculous in their talents and demeanor.
  • He and Victor established a "fake chumminess" and even formed a professional connection, since Victor’s firm made a film out of one of Ferdinand’s stories.
  • As he approaches Nina and Victor in Fialta, Ferdinand indeed looks ridiculous, wearing a waterproof jacket, carrying a camera, and eating a stick of Fialta’s tourist specialty, moonstone candy. He is accompanied by Segur.
  • Ferdinand points out the Indian on one of the circus posters and gives his candy away to a little girl wearing beads around her neck.
  • He then buys Fialta’s version of pink lawn flamingoes: a super-tacky inkwell paperweight of Mount St. George.
  • When Ferdinand and Segur stop at a post office, Victor capitalizes on his alone time with Nina.
  • Victor explains that Ferdinand is an "eclectic" man who isn’t bothered by Nina’s affairs, and even profits from them professionally (as when Victor’s firm made a film of one of his stories).
  • After lunch, Ferdinand and Segur approach Nina and Victor, who are waiting by the yellow car.
  • We go back in time to the lunch the four of them had that day. Victor implicitly attacks Ferdinand for his poor writing by bringing up some negative criticism of his work.
  • Ferdinand responds by railing against criticism of any kind. He then orders the same red drink that he sees the Englishman drinking.
  • Right after lunch, Ferdinand goes to make a phone call, with the express purposes, according to Victor, of obtaining free lodgings with a friend at his next destination. It is this opportunity that Victor takes to get Nina alone and tell her that he loves her.
  • Victor says good-bye to Nina as she drives away with Ferdinand and Segur.
  • Later, when Victor reads about the crash, we learn that, while Nina has died, Ferdinand and Segur both escaped with only minor and temporary injuries.