Laughter in the Dark
Both a comic tragedy and a tragic comedy, Vladimir Nabokov's "Laughter in the Dark" is a brilliantly grim and ironic fable of folly and infatuation. Set in Berlin in the 1930's, a fascinating period of social, artistic and cultural dynamism in sharp contrast with the harsh reality of economic hardship and the rise of Nazi-ism, Albert Albinus, a middle-aged, wealthy and respectable art dealer falls prey to his own desire for a beautiful young temptress, Margot.
Margot's lack of education and her working-class background do not deter Albinus from abandoning his wife and child to be with his erotic young mistress. Despite her overriding desire for the affluent lifestyle Albinus can provide, Margot engages in a clandestine affair with artist and villain Axel Rex, who finds great joy in the downfall of others. The affair takes place right under Albinus's nose but he is blind to it. Ironically, in the end, Albinus loses his eyesight in a car accident, enabling Margot to continue manipulating and deceiving him whilst she and Rex plunder his fortune. When the ghastly betrayal is finally revealed, blind Albinus seeks his revenge....