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Lolita

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  769,020 ratings  ·  32,626 reviews
Awe and exhilaration—along with heartbreak and mordant wit—abound in Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov's most famous and controversial novel, which tells the story of the aging Humbert Humbert's obsessive, devouring, and doomed passion for the nymphet Dolores Haze. Most of all, it is a meditation on love—love as outrage and hallucination, madness and transformation. ...more
Paperback, 50th Anniversary Edition, 317 pages
Published March 13th 1989 by Vintage International (first published September 1955)
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raquel (taylor's version) I'm 16 and I have read it a lot of times. You can read whatever you want and nobody can tells you 'you can't read this'. …moreI'm 16 and I have read it a lot of times. You can read whatever you want and nobody can tells you 'you can't read this'. (less)
Cam Hoff What's disturbing is how Nabokov is able to write a disturbed pedophile main character as one that isn't entirely revolting...but rather someone with …moreWhat's disturbing is how Nabokov is able to write a disturbed pedophile main character as one that isn't entirely revolting...but rather someone with charm and wit that you can almost relate to. Fantastically creepy.(less)

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Average rating 3.88  · 
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 ·  769,020 ratings  ·  32,626 reviews


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Ian "Marvin" Graye
Between the Covers

After re-reading "Lolita", I asked my local bookseller if she'd ever read it.
She replied firmly, “No…and I’m not going to either. He’s a paedophile.”
A bit taken aback, I enquired further, “Who? The author or the character?”
Fortunately, she replied, “The character.”
For me, this exchange showed how much “Lolita” can still sharply divide opinion, even within lovers of fiction.
This wasn’t the conversation I had been hoping for.
I had read “Lolita” in a couple of days, less time than
...more
Emily May
Dec 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Now, this is going to be embarrassing to admit.

As we all should know, reading and enjoying a book is largely about interpretation. People are not the same and we all view things differently; one individual might see a relationship in a book as "passionate" while another could see it as "damaging". When characters make bad decisions, some will view it as stupidity and others will view it as an accurate representation of humanity's imperfections. Not only that, but time often changes the way one p
...more
Tatiana
I wasn't even going to write a review of Lolita after finishing it, because, honestly, how many reviews does this classic need? That is, until I started pocking around and reading what others have to say about it. Many reactions to this book are puzzling to me. In this world of Jerry Sanduskys and such, there are still people who find this "erotic," who in the end feel some kind of compassion toward the narrator, who think that Lolita was the one who seduced and manipulated poor Humbert? Well, I ...more
Rolls
Mar 06, 2007 rated it liked it
An old friend used to say that "Ulysses" was a good book to read but not a good book to "read". After reading "Lolita" I understand what he meant.

Nabokov was a man obsessed with word games and this book is crammed cover to cover with many brilliant examples. Language delighted the man and that certainly comes across. What makes this acheivement even more amazing was that English was his third or fourth language. It is mind blowing that he or anyone could write so fluidly in a "foreign" tongue. I
...more
Jason
Aug 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-stars
Nymph. Nymphet. Nymphetiquette. Nymphology. Nymphism. I will never think of 12 year old girls the same way. There’s a stain on my brain. The power of this book is that it’s creepy and taboo, but the pedophilia and incest is so damn plausible. There’s a criminal, upsetting proclivity of the subject matter, but the whole thing is oiled with reason--SAY IT AINT SO. It’s deviant, queer, puerile, and yet ever so human, darkly human, perverted in the corner.

Lolita lingers in my mind, like an accidenta
...more
Charlotte May
Dec 31, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
Update: 06/07/2020

Having just finished A Dark Vanessa, a book I rated 5 stars I am even more certain of my hatred of this book.

Any book where the reader is forced to feel empathy for a pedophile just doesn’t do it for me. You can call me narrow minded if you like but if it were up to me they would all be castrated and set on fire and I would feel no sadness about it.

Go read A Dark Vanessa for a fantastic portrayal of an abusive relationship between a girl and a grown man. Not this shit.

P.s I’
...more
Sean Barrs
May 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pushing the boundaries of what acceptable literature can actually be, Lolita is very much a piece of art.

For many years I kept hearing about this book, the content sounding disturbing and perhaps even slightly fascinating. It’s a book that’s central theme is one of the darkest elements of mankind: paedophilia. And although such a thing is beyond revolting, it is used to tell the tale of a very lost and very lonely man. Humbert is a man to be pitied, pitied because he actually exists.

A child in
...more
Lyn
Dec 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I once represented a man who had been accused of statutory rape and sexual exploitation of a minor. I did it because it is my job and I fundamentally believe that everyone, no matter how heinous the crime alleged, deserves a fair trial.

That said, it was the single most unpleasant experience of my legal career and high in the running for most unpleasant all time.

In popular culture we are inundated with scenes of crime and violence, we live in a morally relative landscape where “to each his own” i
...more
Paul Bryant
Sep 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Other formerly shocking novels of previous centuries have lost their power, batteries quite flat (Madame Bovary, Ulysses, Lady Chatterly’s Lover) – we love them still but we wince no more, we may be quite amused at the idea that this word or that idea was not allowed in polite society – we may, indeed, be vastly amused at the very idea of polite society because society is just not very polite at all these days. But uniquely, Lolita, this great and appalling novel, only gets more shocking and mor ...more
Michael Finocchiaro
Astoundingly beautiful prose, a self-aware psychotic narrator who is both unapologetic and yet disgusted by his crime...so many themes in this book, so much symmetry (342).

Humbert Humbert knows he is both brilliant and insanely obsessed with pre-pubescent girls. He tortures his psychiatrists "cunningly leading them on; never letting them see [he] knew every trick of the trade" (P. 34). He becomes a lodger with Ms. Haze, a widow, and sees his nymphet in her yard, "a blue sea-wave swelled under [
...more
David
Aug 10, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5q
LUST AND LEPIDOPTERY
(Legend of a Licentious Logophile)

1. Libidinous linguist lusts after landlady's lass.
2. Lecherous lodger weds lovelorn landlady.
3. Landlady loses life.
4. Lascivious lewd looks after little Lolita.
5. Lubricious Lolita loves licking lollipops lambitively.
6. Licentious lecturer loves Lolita louchely.
7. Lechery lands lusty lamister in legal limbo.
8. Lachrymose libertine languishes in lockup.
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov

Lolita is a 1955 novel written by Russian American novelist Vladimir Nabokov.

The novel is notable for its controversial subject: the protagonist and unreliable narrator, a middle-aged literature professor under the pseudonym Humbert Humbert is obsessed with a 12-year-old girl, Dolores Haze, with whom he becomes sexually involved after he becomes her stepfather.

Lolita is his private nickname for Dolores.

The novel was originally written in English and first published in
...more
Luca Ambrosino
Apr 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ENGLISH (Lolita) / ITALIANO

After dusty years in my bookshelf, finally I decided to read "Lolita". I am blown away by this Vladimir Nabokov's work, ironic and dramatic at the same time. I am not shocked, nor I have found those disastrous tones of an announced tragedy that I was expecting from this book. Indeed Nabokov tells us that this work:

"... brings along no moral. For me a work of fiction exists only if it gives me what I frankly shall call aesthetic pleasure."
The main character, Humbert, de
...more
Chris
Apr 01, 2008 rated it it was ok
*Ranked as one of the Top 100 Fiction of the 20th Century*
I’m not quite sure how to put this in words. Hell, I’m not sure what I intend to say, so this is going to be ugly. If you want to sit in on this exercise be my guest, you’ve probably got more important things to do, such as organizing your cassette tapes and LPs before shoving them in a box destined for the attic, believe me, your time will be better spent, especially when you take that stroll down memory lane and consider how killer it w
...more
Elle (ellexamines)
You see, she had absolutely nowhere else to go.

This is a book I kind of hated and kind of loved, and when I first started writing this review, I did not know how to evaluate it. So I went through the reviews, and I realized what I wanted to say: it honestly amazes me that anyone is able to read this as a romance.

It's quite clear that this is not meant to be a romance. even ignoring that it's quite literally about a twelve year old and a thirty-seven year old, it is made SO clear tha
...more
Vit Babenco
Apr 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wishful… Sinful…
“He’d wag his horn rimmed head, smile secretively, wink, and proclaim his astonishment: ‘Still on Lolita?’ Then he’d issue a past master’s chuckle by way of letting me know that he and I were joined in some scatological conspiracy. It never occurred to him that I might be reading the book for the fourth or fifth time, and as the days passed I know he came to regard me as either depraved or the most moronic reader in Christendom. ‘Still on Lolita!’ became a recurring din, like a d
...more
emma
I read this book seven months ago, and this is the first time I have so much as typed a word of a review for it.

To be fair, I am horribly behind on reviews absolutely all of the time. As I write, I have 31 in my backlog. I am approximately two or three months behind at any point. I’m lucky if I write one for every two books I read.

And yet this manages to be a new low.

Honestly, I don’t want to review this book. I don’t want to think critically about it. Really, I don’t want to think about it at
...more
Ilse
Aug 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russia, reviewed
I insist the world know how much I loved my Lolita, this Lolita, pale and polluted, and big with another’s child, but still gray-eyed, still sooty-lashed, still auburn and almond, still Carmencita, still mine.

From prison, the confessions of Humbert Humbert, a 40- year old man with a weakness for 'nymphets', budding sirens 'between nine and fourteen', reach us. Looking for shelter in a sleepy American town, he discovers 12-year-old Dolores Haze - Lolita. To be able to stay near her, Humbert m
...more
Namrirru
Jul 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e, novels, russian
Nabokov often writes his novels in the perspective of detestable villains. You never like them, you're never supposed to like them, and Nabokov doesn't like them either. He slaps them around and humiliates them. And in the end, they pay the price for their sins. Readers never seem to realize this. They become immersed in the psychology of the book and feel defiled by it all. Instead, they should sit back and watch the bastards suffer. The stories are written in their own view so that makes the p ...more
Leonard Gaya
Dec 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Probably everyone recalls that iconic movie poster with a blond teenager peering above her heart-shaped sunglasses, a red lollipop on the tip of her tongue. This picture is directly inspired by a line in Nabokov’s novel, where middle-aged Humbert-Humbert sees “his Lolita” for the very first time. What follows is a tender, sad, and seemingly chaste love story between a man in his forties and (in his own words) a nymphette.

Lolita is a novel in the form of a confession. It is unclear throughout H.H
...more
s.penkevich
Human life is but a series of footnotes to a vast obscure unfinished masterpiece.

Opening a book is a unique conversation with another, the chance to enter and occupy the headspace of a writer, a character, a voice screaming out into the void. We see life—our own world or fantastic realities that function as elaborate metaphors for our own—through another’s eyes, walk a mile in another’s skin as Atticus Finch would say, and learn that despite the differences between individuals, we are all part o
...more
Lori - I'm back (with a lot to catch up on)
I've lost count how many times I've read "Lolita." Ten is a guess, could be more. I love it.
(But not the covers. I want to take a sharpie to every one of them.)
I love Nabokov. He's not for everyone. No one is.

What follows is some advice and observations from me to those who are surprised and/or dismayed to find this famous infamous novel confusing (it can be) and disgusting (it's not) and Vlad a revolting, talentless hack (again, not).
I mean well.

Warning:
Do not read "Lolita" if you trust unre
...more
Manny
Warning: contains spoilers for The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, L'âge de raison and this book

I remember seeing an interview with Nabokov, where he was asked what long-term effect he thought Lolita had had. I suppose the interviewer was looking for some comment on the liberalization of censorship laws, or something like that. Nabokov didn't want to play - as you can see in Look at the Harlequins, he was pretty tired of these questions. So he said well, as far as he could make out, there had only been
...more
Glenn Russell
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition



Prof. Harry Levin of Harvard says it is a great book and darkly symbolical (Mr. Nabokov explicitly denies any symbolism). Graham Greene says that “Lolita” is a distinguished novel. William Styron says it is "uniquely droll" and "genuinely funny."

"Lolita," then, is undeniably news in the world of books. Unfortunately, it is bad news. There are two equally serious reasons why it isn't worth any adult reader's attention. The first is that it is dull, dull, dull in a pretentious, florid and archly f
...more
F
Mar 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa, 2015
Sick, twisted and beautiful.
Love this.
Henry Avila
Aug 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When Humbert Humbert, ( his parents had little imagination) was thirteen he fell in love with Annabel, a girl of the same age. Living in a posh hotel on the French Riviera owned by his widowed father, during the 1920's, idyllic but life is not. After some smooching not enough for the boy, she moves away with her family and soon expires on a Greek isle, trouble is Humbert never forgets or recovers from this. The clock ticks forward yet still remembering the dreams, nightmares in fact, continue, e ...more
ZOË
Jul 07, 2022 marked it as to-read
WHY DID VANITY FAIR SAY “The only convincing love story of our century.” ON THE BACK OF THIS EDITION… DID THEY READ THE BOOK????
Luís
In this sulphurous and scandalous novel, Vladimir Nabokov succeeds in "lulling" the reader's ethics to bring him to consider the point of view of a paedophile's story. He skillfully plays with words to make him an accomplice and tolerate the sordid fantasies of his main character.
It goes beyond the sole question of paedophilia and incest, tilting received ideas with intelligence and finesse to deliver a heartbreaking story full of contradictions.
Bold, shocking, and haunting, despite our disgusti
...more
Mary Ellen
Jul 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I recently got into an argument with a friend about Lolita. I contend that it's one of the most beautiful books ever written, and that it's twice as amazing because Nabakov wrote it in English (which is his second or third language).

She contended that it was about a child molestor and was inexcusable.

I argued that it was more about chronicling a slightly off-kilter man's descent into wretched madness and total loathsomeness. A portrait of a child molestor, not necessarily a sanctioning of one.

S
...more
Candi
Sep 07, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“I am like one of those inflated pale spiders you see in old gardens. Sitting in the middle of a luminous web and giving little jerks to this or that strand. My web is spread all over the house as I listen from my chair where I sit like a wily wizard.”

That admission comes directly from the pen of one of the most infamous, unreliable narrators of all time as he puts his memories to paper. I’d say it goes a long way in describing Vladimir Nabokov himself, as well. No, I’m not calling Nabokov a ped
...more
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Russian: Владимир Владимирович Набоков .

Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov, also known by the pen name Vladimir Sirin, was a Russian-American novelist. Nabokov wrote his first nine novels in Russian, then rose to international prominence as a master English prose stylist. He also made significant contributions to lepidoptery, and had a big interest in chess problems.

Nabokov's Lolita (1955) is frequ
...more

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