I'm not sure what to make of the next book -- She Would Be King by Wayetu Moore. The "magical realism" aspect of the novel puts me off (although I note that Gabriel Garcia Marquez' One Hundred Years of Solitude and Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate fall squarely into this genre).
The memoir opens with an emotional wallop: "My daughter learned to walk in a homeless shelter." In the book, Land tells how a single mother managed to support herself and her daughter for five years on $9/hour. It's a book representing a "voiceless, faceless group." For readers of non-fiction, it's being billed as Evicted meets Nickeled and Dimed.
Land managed to extract herself from her poverty and went to college in her 30s. Maid began as an essay she wrote while there that was picked up by Vox. (To read the essay, click here.) The book comes out in January.
Much, of course, has been written about Nabakov's Lolita. But Weinman seems to be the first who paid real attention to a throw-away line in which Humbert Humbert asks himself, "Had I done to [Lolita] what Frank La Salle did to Sally Horner?"
Who, Weinman wondered, were these people? It turns out young Sally was caught stealing a notebook by a man masquerading as an FBI agent. La Salle persuaded Sally to stay with him (presumably in return for her "freedom"), and the pair traveled for two years on the road as father and daughter. This happened in the late 1940s, around the time Nabakov was searching for inspiration for his next novel.
Nabakov never shared the background of Lolita and in fact took some pains to hide any parallels to the real-life drama. He tried to burn his work papers for the novel, but his wife salvaged them. These papers were an integral part of the "literary detective work" Weinman did for her book. The Real Lolita hits bookstores in September. A back-to-back reading of The Real Lolita and Lolita might be in order.
As I always say, so many books, so little time.