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Martha then gets pneumonia from the rain and the cold on the boat. Franz is immediately enchanted by Martha's beauty, and, shortly after Franz begins work at the store, the two strike up a secret love affair.
She plans to take Dreyer, who cannot swim, out in a rowing boat so he can be drowned. The character's fates can be read in the automatons' performance: Later Franz sees them again and feels they are talking about him and know "everything about his predicament".
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The Inventor promised to make three dummies, however, at the final performance for Ritter, only the "elderly gentleman" with Dreyer's jacket and the woman "walking like a streetwalker" were ready. In the book's last scenes, Nabokov describes Franz with great penetration and comedy as having "reached a stage at which human speech, unless representing a command, was meaningless.
The woman dummy crashed in a final clatter. Dreyer reads a list of people in their hotel. Franz, relieved by her death, is heard laughing "in a frenzy of young mirth". Dreyer, meanwhile, continues to lavish blind adulation on his wife, and is only hurt, not suspicious, when she returns his love with resentment.
Franz himself has begun to lose interest in Martha, but he goes along with her plotting.
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The strange name Blavdak Vinomori strikes him; presumably this is the name of the male of this couple; it is an anagram of Vladimir Nabokov. As her relationship with Franz deepens, Martha begins to hatch schemes for Dreyer's demise.
Franz, meanwhile, begins to lose any will of his own, and becomes a numb extension of his lover. In the book, there is also a reference to a fictional movie King, Queen, Knave, based on a play by a " Goldemar ".
To Dreyer's great sorrow she passes away; he never learns about the betrayal and the danger he was in. Vivian Badlook also appears in the text, a "fellow skier and teacher of English," who photographs Dreyer in Davosanother anagram of Vladimir Nabokov.
As the novel continues Martha's distaste for her husband grows more pronounced, and with it her adoration for Franz. On the train ride to Berlin Franz is seated in the same compartment with Kurt Dreyer and Dreyer's wife, Martha, neither of whom Franz has met.
Additionally, the actual automaton Franz represents a backward critique by Nabokov of the Weimar German psyche—ripe for destructive organization.
King, Queen, Knave
Plot summary[ edit ] Franz Bubendorfa young man from a small town, is sent away from home to work in the Berlin department store of his well-to-do uncle actually, his mother's cousinDreyer.
The picture of Franz is that of a lower-class German who is easily manipulated, surrenders his moral judgment, and becomes increasingly dehumanized. On the boat, however, the plot is suspended by Martha when she learns from Dreyer that he is about to close a very profitable business deal.
Other characters in the novel are the "conjuror," Old Enricht, who rents out a room to Franz, and the Inventor who was developing robot-like "automannequins" financed by Dreyer who hoped to make money by selling the invention to the American Mr.
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