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
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
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
Lolita lingers in my mind, like an accidenta ...more
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
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
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
(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.
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
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
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
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
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
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 i ...more
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
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
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.
When I was in 6th or 7th standard, we had a Physical Education teacher (Pun f ...more
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
This review contains SPOILERS, but if you've been living on this planet, you probably knew about them already...
Daddy, are we there yet? Are we there YET? Daddy, how much longer still? I want to go home!
Hush little one, now
Say your prayers
Don't forget my little nymph
To include everyone
I tuck you in
Keep you free from sin
'Til the sandman he comes
Sleep with one eye open
Gripping your pillow tight
Take my hand
We're off to never never-land
As everyone says - its gorgeously written. The language is so rich that it somehow spills over the sentences - there's more to them than you can easily ingest. The writing makes the whole thing a pleasure to read, and in a lot of ways puts Nabakov in control from the start - there isn't a lot of room to imagine motives since Nabakov explains so much. I should point out that were a lesser writer spend any time at all writing in a language I can't r ...more
(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.
Do not read "Lolita" if you trust unre ...more
But I can't do that. Not when the core of the book concerns the main character's obsession with girl children of twelve years of age. Not when he is so particular in his categorising of those girl children that he begins to ...more
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