I'm not thinking about whether or not I like this book, because I didn't, but is it good? It's exceptional. I know, I know, everybody knows this. I'veI'm not thinking about whether or not I like this book, because I didn't, but is it good? It's exceptional. I know, I know, everybody knows this. I've heard it again and again. And now I'm glad to have experienced it. It was not easy to experience. Perhaps because I'm a woman and I felt such disdain for my humanity coming from the book. I felt, reading, that women were only good for a few things and most women were useless and even disgusting. That I could feel this so sharply is part of the power of this book. But what impressed me the most about this book is how Nabokov tells the story, the structure, the impeccable choices. Just when I thought he had written himself into a corner, abra cadabra! He was free. And the choices never felt imposed. I thought: yes, absolutely, of course that's how it would happen...life is like that. There is much to love and hate about this book. Volumes. But this is what I found most compelling: a careful and unabashed depiction of the hatred of women (even nymphetes, a gorgeously distorted, monstrously absolute view of girls and girlhood), which exists underground in our world and is painful, but liberating to see unearthed, and the incredible honesty and delicacy of Nabokov's storytelling choices...the use of language isn't bad, either. ...more
Cannot argue this is not good writing. Love the humor and playfulness and experimental nature. I mistakenly got the big print version from the libraryCannot argue this is not good writing. Love the humor and playfulness and experimental nature. I mistakenly got the big print version from the library, and am not sure to what extent that affected my interpretation of this book. But it seemed bold, clownish, friendly and slightly mean, in a good, literary, also clownish way. Easy to read, maybe the print? And very often, stunningly beautiful. What I enjoyed about this book was how different it was from the other books I've been reading. It was "pure" story in a way. Different from the trend these days to write non-fiction books with a fairly straight forward fictional story weaved through and where the characters aren't really the point. This book felt old school to me, back in the day, when life was odd and people, not beautiful facts, were the focus. Which sounds like a criticism...and maybe it is...but I passionately love the fact-based, museum quality books, too. It was just nice to read ... "character-driven" fiction again (Is that a thing?).
Okay, just remembered it IS a thing. I'm old. So am adding a note to self, because that's basically what these reviews are, notes to self, what I learn from reading. And I think what I'm talking about is the difference between plot driven and character driven writing.
It used to be "best-sellers" were plot driven and "literary" books were more character driven, but that's changed. The best literary books these days are plot driven: wars, explosions, murder, etc. and no matter how finely drawn and alive the characters are, they remain secondary to and driven by the STORY. What I'm missing these days are the books where the PEOPLE bumble about having lives and the story is just the ground they travel. : )...more