Libby's Reviews > Lolita

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
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's review
Apr 07, 2009

did not like it
bookshelves: feculent

OK I want to preface this entry with this statement: I don't usually give up on books before I finish them. In fact I can only remember two books that I chose to not finish reading out of the many thousands I have read in my lifetime. This will be the third. I have failed to complete the book, and for once I really dont care. I have not an ounce of guilt or regret over not finishing it. Why did this book cause such an extreme reaction in me?

a) I found Nabokov's writing style flowery and pretentious. In my opinion it was overwritten.
b) The parts that were supposed to be comic I found to be only disturbing and nauseating.
c) HH's deluded concept of "nymphettes" made me cringe with a disgust that I could not overcome.
d) HH sad belief that what he was experiencing for Lolita was "love" was a laughable concept to me.

Perhaps this novel can be called a classic by those who find quality in Nabokov's writing style and who can see layers of depth in such things as metaphors for the old and new worlds of Russia and America. However, I like to call a spade a spade and all academic posturing aside it is quite simply about how a vain and manipulative misogynist paedophile attempts to justify his sickness to the world...and that to me does not classic literature make. It makes my skin crawl to think about how this novel is probably held as a true classic in the paedophile world.
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03/06 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Simone Have to agree: I never finished it either.

Faye I don't think Nabokov had any allegorical intentions with metaphors and such. He wasn't that kind of writer. I think all editions of Lolita have a portion in the back where he talks about it so... I dunno if you still have a copy of it, that may be of interest to you though, to see his intentions/thoughts on the piece.

Also, Humbert is pretentious and his style would be verbose... so that's why it's written like that. Although Nabokov does have a very intricate style in most of his works, so I cannot say that it wasn't Nabokovian anyway. But I'm just throwing that out there, because it is an important aspect of Humbert's characterization. While I love Nabokov's more stylistic prose (basically purple prose done right), he's not always like that. I think that people who are put off would find merit in his work that isn't as dense or "flowery". -shrug- I'm just pointing that out in case you come across other works by him, maybe give some other pieces a chance.

Anyway, clearly with my five star rating of the book, I disagree with your comment otherwise but I'm not going to fight your opinion or tell you that you're wrong, so don't take this comment that way. The above are just things I'm pointing out that maybe you didn't know/realize.

Libby Meh. Give me Flann O'Brien's punk rock literary genius over Nabokov any day. I've tried other Nabokov's and found them to be tiresomely overwrought and self indulgent. I prefer writers that understand all the conventions and devices of literature so much that they find their ordinary usage pretentiously boring so they fuck with them to make it interesting.

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