Spring in Fialta
by Vladimir Nabokov
Spring in Fialta Transience Quotes
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Brightly she signaled to me with her flowers; I introduced her to Elena, and in that life-quickening atmosphere of a big railway station where everything is something trembling on the brink of something else, thus to be clutched and cherished, the exchange of a few words was enough to enable two totally dissimilar women to start calling each other by their pet names the very next time they met. (19)
Trains have a lot to do with transience in "Spring in Fialta." You can check out Symbols, Imagery, and Allegory for more, but for now, think about the phrase "everything is something trembling on the brink of something else." We can apply this passage to Victor’s narrative itself: a story set in reality, but trembling on the brink of the narrator’s fantasy.
Again and again she hurriedly appeared in the margins of my life, without influencing in the least its basic text. (31)
Nina, because of the fleeting nature of her appearances, can’t ever be anything real in Victor’s life. She’s restricted to the fantastical, to his memories and his vague hopes.
…the yellow car I had seen under the plane trees had suffered a crash beyond Fialta, having run at full speed into the truck of a traveling circus entering the town, a crash from which Ferdinand and his friend, those invulnerable rogues, those salamanders of fate, those basilisks of good fortune, had escaped with local and temporary injury to their scales, while Nina, in spite of her long-standing, faithful imitation of them, had turned out after all to be mortal. (41)
Initially, "Spring in Fialta" explores the transience of love, memory, pain, and emotion. It’s not until the text focuses on Nina’s death that we realize it is also about mortality, or the transience of life.