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ofthe upcoming divorce opens everyone to a new scrutiny of their relationships and themselves. Some of the best scenes are from the point of view of Simon's adolescent children. The boy has just found his first girlfriend , whUe the younger daughter is a sensitive, slightly haunted observer of all of this drama. Marrying the Mistress is a bestseUer in Britain. Like many popular domestic novels, it is a little highhanded in its omniscient method, with certain characters being in the right and others quite obviously in need of correction. Many of its chapters are dramatic encounters in which the reader can easUy identify with the white hat. A book like this makes me yearn just a little for fiction in which the right choice isn't always so obvious, or what seems like the right choice can go seriously awry— a world closer to the one we live in. Trollope's observations are inteUigent , ti not surprising, and she has a good sense ofthe interconnectedness ofpeople. She knows her psychology, and she concludes this novel thematicaUy in a way that is more than merely satisfying. AU in aU, Marrying the Mistress is a great beach or vacation read. (SM) MR Lost Classic —. m'.itl Reviews by: Marta Boswell, Rachel Young, Pam Johnston, Steve Yarbrough, Jack Smith, Anthony Russomanno, Amy Knox Brown, Seth Fletcher, Alicia Conroy, Speer Morgan Two recent collections of previously unpublished or uncollected nature writing by two very different but equaUy passionate writer/naturaUsts shouldn't be missed. Editors Brian Boyd and Michael PyIe have assembled, for the first time, Vladimir Nabokov's impressive corpus of writing on butterflies. Science meets and meshes with Uterature in this remarkable book. Henry David Thoreau's last, unfinished manuscript (apparently part of a comprehensive "Kalendar" he intended to write, detailing the natural history of Concord over the course of one year) has been edited by Thoreau scholar Bradley Dean and illustrated by Abigail Rorer. Reading Thoreau's precise yet plainspoken and always lyrical observations, one aches for a world that used to be and regrets that this lovely book (and indeed his entire project) was never finished. Nabokov's Butterflies: Unpublished and Uncollected Writings of Vladimir Nabokov Edited by Brian Boyd and Michael PyIe Beacon Press, 2000, 782 pp., $45 There is a story that Vladimir Nabokov was once asked to conduct alumni around the Harvard campus. This was in the early 1940s, after Nabokov had fled Europe with his wtie and son and was serving in a series of temporary positions at Wellesley and Harvard, including the curator of Lepidoptera at Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology. 186 · The Missouri Review Growing impatient, Nabokov said to the alumni, "Excuse me, I must go play with my genitaUa." What he wanted to go play with had nothing to do with Nabokov being the future author of Lolita, the tale of a sociopathic sex maniac, but with his coUection of male butterfly genitaUa, which he kept in meticulously labeled vials in his office. As a collector, Nabokov held that the best taxonomic tool besides wing patterns was the fantastic variety of male butterfly genitals. Nabokov loved butterfly coUecting as much as writing, and he probably devoted at least as much of his Ufe to it, particularly to a genus of Blues called Lycaeides. Speak, Memory, his autobiography, evokes the joy and complete mental immersion of his passion. Butterflies flit in and out of his novels, but the miracle is how relatively weU Nabokov kept his butterfly passion under control while writing. This is a hefty book that collects Nabokov's scientific and literary writing about butterflies—which explains why it needed two editors. Boyd is the definitive Nabokov biographer , and PyIe is a lepidopterist. Each has written a separate introduction to the book, but while both of their introductions are very fine, there is possibly a little too much parallel information in them. Also, both PyIe and Boyd seem too concerned with proving, once and for aU, that Nabokov was an influential figure in the history of lepidoptery. Something about devoting too many thousands of eloquent words to that argument strikes me as hitting a thumbtack with a sledgehammer. The book...


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