This is a 5* story of human redemption, a novel that challenges the reader to greater commitment to social justice and compassion for all people. Unfo...moreThis is a 5* story of human redemption, a novel that challenges the reader to greater commitment to social justice and compassion for all people. Unfortunately, the writing style which was in vogue in mid-19 century Europe diluted the power of that message for me. By the time I waded through detailed analyses of the battle of Waterloo, the history of Parisian sewer system, detailed descriptions of 19 century cloister convent life, essays on the appropriate place of slang in literature and those lengthy melodramatic speeches, I no longer felt connected to the characters or moved by the narrative.(less)
I have to admit that I did not enjoy reading this book at all. To me, this felt like pornography. I don’t care how erudite the author, how literary th...moreI have to admit that I did not enjoy reading this book at all. To me, this felt like pornography. I don’t care how erudite the author, how literary the style, how fresh the use of language, how well crafted the characters, it still met my definition of pornography and I simply do not enjoy reading porn. This book depicted the sexual exploitation of a young adolescent by her step father. The only purpose for this graphic depiction seemed to be to entertain. Depicting sex for entertainment purposes is my definition of porn.
I tried to separate the writing from the subject to determine if I could understand its high regard in the literary canon. The narrator uses a pompous, verbose voice that became grating rather quickly into the novel. I suppose that, had this been a short story, or had this voice been assumed by a character who did not narrate, it might have worked. However, before the rape began, I wanted to tell this man to “put a sock in it”. However, I was impressed at the ability to capture the interior workings of such a depraved mind. Humbert knows that he is engaging in illegal, immoral and ultimately harmful behavior. Yet, his impulses prevent him from stopping. Humbert is sexually arrested at the time of his first adolescent sexual encounter and can not distinguish between love and lust, can not see the world from any vantage point except his own juvenile passions. I did not realize how well the pedophile was understood more than 50 years ago. And, Lolita’s ambiguity is also skillfully and credibly depicted. I can not imagine how Nabakov could have lived inside this character for the time it would take to complete this novel. I felt tarnished in the relatively few hours it took me to read it.
No doubt this is a novel of well-recognized literary value. Although I can readily admit its quality, I can’t say I enjoyed it. Maybe it was my mood....moreNo doubt this is a novel of well-recognized literary value. Although I can readily admit its quality, I can’t say I enjoyed it. Maybe it was my mood. But, I found the writing style excessively wordy; similes added to similes, descriptions that bogged down the narrative. Reading this felt a bit like swimming through molasses, very rich, but quite a slow trudge. This book has such prominence in the western canon that I knew the story even though I had not yet read it. Because of that, the plot held no suspense. And, finally, I simply don’t find romances captivating or romantic heroes interesting. (less)
Not sure how I feel about this one. The propaganda was a bit irritating, the chapters on torture were difficult to read, the writing was masterful, an...moreNot sure how I feel about this one. The propaganda was a bit irritating, the chapters on torture were difficult to read, the writing was masterful, and the ways it has been woven into current culture quite ironic.(less)