The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.
Although the two are identical twins, man, as a rule, views the prenatal abyss with more calm than the one he is heading for (at some forty-five hundred heartbeats an hour).
I know, however, of a young chronophobiac who experienced something like panic when looking for the first time at homemade movies that had been taken a few weeks before his birth.
He saw a world that was practically unchanged-the same house, the same people – and then realized that he did not exist there at all and that nobody mourned his absence.
He caught a glimpse of his mother waving from an upstairs window, and that unfamiliar gesture disturbed him, as if it were some mysterious farewell.
But what particularly frightened him was the sight of a brand-new baby carriage standing there on the porch, with the smug, encroaching air of a coffin; even that was empty, as if, in the reverse course of events, his very bones had disintegrated.
Vladimir Nabokov (22 April 1899 – 2 July 1977), also known by the pen name Vladimir Sirin, was a Russian and American novelist, poet, translator and entomologist.
His first nine novels were written in Russian (1926–38), but he achieved international prominence after he began writing English prose. Nabokov became an American citizen in 1945.
Nabokov‘s Lolita (1955) was ranked fourth in the list of the Modern Library 100 Best Novels in 2007; Pale Fire (1962) was ranked 53rd on the same list; and his memoir, Speak, Memory (1951), was listed eighth on publisher Random House’s list of the 20th century’s greatest nonfiction.
He was a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction seven times.