|For anyone who has ever wondered how the colors Nabokov heard might manifest themselves visually, Alphabet in Color is a remarkable journey of discovery. Jean Holabird’s interpretation of the colored alphabets of one of the twentieth century’s literary greats is a revelation. Nabokov saw rich colors in letters and sounds and noted the deficiency of color in literature, praising Gogol as the first Russian writer to truly appreciate yellow and violet. This book masterfully brings to life the charming and vibrant synesthetic colored letters that until now existed only in Nabokov’s mind.
In Alphabet in Color Jean Holabird’s grasp of form and space blends perfectly with Nabokov’s idea that a subtle interaction exists between sound and shape. He saw “q” as browner than “k,” while “s” is not the light blue of “c,” but a curious mixture of azure and mother-of-pearl. . . . Dull green, combined somehow with violet, is the best I can do for “w.”
In his playful foreword, Brian Boyd, “the prince of Nabokovians,” points out that an important part of “Nabokov’s passion for precision was his passion for color.”
Vladimir Nabokov was the author of The Defense, Invitation to a Beheading, The Gift, Lolita, Pnin, Pale Fire, Ada and much, much more.