Study Guide

A Russian Beauty Narrator Point of View

By Vladimir Nabokov

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Narrator Point of View

Third Person (Omniscient)

This guy (or gal...we really don't know) is a little weird and a little pervy. Okay, maybe not a little. A lot. How else do you explain that we know so much about Olga's looks and hardly anything else about her?

Sometimes it feels like our narrator is not particularly good at telling stories because they jump over parts that seem pretty important to us. Like how does Olga's mom get typhus, why is her brother shot by a firing squad, and how does her dad die? Then, when Olga dies: what year is it? Is it a boy or girl? What happened at the wedding? Instead of a proper answer or even a proper ending, all we get is:

That's all. Of course, there may be some sort of sequel, but it is not known to me. In such cases, instead of getting bogged down in guesswork, I repeat the words of the merry king in my favorite fairy tale: Which arrow flies forever? The arrow that has hit its mark. (17)

Seriously? What kind of ending is that? For someone who knows how Olga decorates her bedroom this person is seriously casual about the big details. That's an unreliable narrator if we've ever seen one. They can't even tell a story properly!

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