A 999 line poem in heroic couplets, divided into 4 cantos, was composed - according to Nabokov's fiction - by John Francis Shade, an obsessively methodical man, during the last 20 days of his life.
"This centaur-work, half poem, half prose . . . is a creation of perfect beauty, symmetry, strangeness, originality and moral truth. Pretending to be a curio, it cannot disguise the fact that it is one of the great works of art of this century." (Mary McCarthy, The New Republic)
"Of all [Nabokov's] inventions, Pale Fire is the wildest, the funniest and the most earnest. It is like nothing on God's earth." (New York Herald Tribune)
"A monstrous, witty, intricately entertaining work . . . done with dazzling skill." (Time)