Invitation to a Beheading

by Vladimir Nabokov
Release date: 1959
Original title: Приглашение на казнь
Type: speculative fiction
Genres: fantasy
Tags: translation

Invitation to a Beheading was first first serialized in Contemporary Notes (Sovremennye zapiski) in 1935-1936. The book was published in 1938.

Like Kafka's The Castle, Invitation to a Beheading embodies a vision of a bizarre and irrational world. In an unnamed dream country, the young man Cincinnatus C. is condemned to death by beheading for "gnostical turpitude." an imaginary crime that defies definition. Cincinnatus spends his last days in an absurd jail, where he is visited by chimerical jailers. an executioner who masquerades as a fellow prisoner, and by his in-laws. who lug their furniture with them into his cell. When Cincinnatus is led out to be executed. he simply wills his executioners out of existence: they disappear, along with the whole world they inhabit.

(updated 2017-01-19)

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