For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

“La Veneziana”

Vladimir Nabokov


He felt as if he were coming apart at the seams, as if it were his timidity that kept him from hitting accurately, and that, instead of an instrument of play, meticulously and ingeniously assembled out of resonant, amber catgut strung on a superbly calculated frame, he was holding a clumsy dry log from which the ball would rebound with a painful crack, ending up in the net or in the bushes, and even managing to knock the straw hat off the circular pate of Mr. McGore, who was standing beside the court and watching with no great interest as his young wife Maureen and the lightfooted, nimble Frank defeated their perspiring opponents.

The story was written in late 1929, but remained unpublished until recently.