“This choice of a title was an attempt to suggest an outline broken by refraction, a distortion in the mirror of being, a wrong turn taken by life.”
Vladimir Nabokov, from the introduction to the 1963 edition of Bend Sinister
Donald Trump’s nightmarish occupancy of the US presidency has occasioned quite a few literary comparisons, causing sales spikes for such dystopian works as George Orwell’s 1984 and prompting arguments about whether other books more accurately envisioned what passes for our current version of reality: see Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.
An admittedly cursory check around hasn’t turned up anyone else who, like me, makes the connection to Vladimir Nabokov’s 1947 novel Bend Sinister, about a bereaved world-renowned philosopher living in a totalitarian state run by the repulsive schoolmate he had once bullied and nicknamed “The Toad”. This tyrant, Paduk, rules via his Party Of The Average Man.