You'll love this one...!! A book club & more discussion

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Buddy Reads > Lolita

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

A buddy read thread for the RoundRobin part of the Toppler.


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm listening to this on CD, narated by Jeremy Irons. He has a voice like creamy velvet, which is seductive to listen to. I've not got chapter numbers, so not sure where I am in that terms, but just under 1/5th of the way through at present.


message 3: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisathebooklover) | 9244 comments I am just starting to read this. I have it in paperback and am hoping to get through it in the next day or two. The audiobook sounds very good. Jeremy Irons certainly has a great voice. I have the film adaptation too, which has him in the lead role, but I haven't watched it yet as I want to read the book first.


message 4: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisathebooklover) | 9244 comments I am 20% of the way through this at the moment. I am enjoying it more than I expected to. The writing style takes a bit of getting used to but once you get into the flow of it, it becomes easier to follow. It's more humorous than I expected it to be too.


message 5: by Esther (new)

Esther  (estame) | 467 comments I finished this over the weekend. I expected that I was going to hate it, but actually I thought it was so well written, and such a clever psychological study.
In the back of my book there was an interview with Nabokov about where he got his inspiration from - a news clipping he saw - I thought that was really interesting. I won't go into that further just in case you are yet to get to it.

Did anyone feel sorry (not sure "sorry" is a descriptive enough word...empathy? Understanding? Forgiveness?) for H.H?


message 6: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisathebooklover) | 9244 comments Esta wrote: "I finished this over the weekend. I expected that I was going to hate it, but actually I thought it was so well written, and such a clever psychological study.
In the back of my book there was an ..."


Even though I am not that far into it yet, H.H is already proving to be a far more complex character than I thought he would be. You think that you are going to hate him and yet, in reality, you don't.

Also, I think my copy has an interview with Nabokov at the end too so I am looking forward to reading that after finishing the story.


message 7: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Burton (goneabroad71) | 53 comments I'm not doing the toppler, but I just read Lolita recently, so I hope you don't mind me chiming in :-)

I think this book shows nabokov's brilliance! who can take a character everyone is prepared to not just hate but loathe and condemn, and turn him into a (at least slightly) sympathetic character? Amazing.


message 8: by Esther (new)

Esther  (estame) | 467 comments I agree, it's testimony to his great writing that he was able to accurately get into the mindset of such a complex character. I work with children and adolescents who have been sexually abused, and some of the explanations he gives for his actions (I was seduced, I did it for love, etc) are so typical of sexual pedators. H.H is one the best "unreliable narrators" I have ever read. I didn't like him, not one bit, I found him pathetic, but I did begin to feel manipulated at times.

So this is his court statement - Do you think this would help him get a reduced sentence, or do you think it shows zero remorse?


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

There's an element of he makes it all sound so believable. The logic, the protestations that he never intended to sully her, it all makes him sound like a good person. And the writing is really very seductive and hypnotic, and, for such a subject, remarkably free of any obscenity. The skill of the writer is something that is standing out for me.

Obviously this is presented from HH's point of view, but Lolita herself doesn't seem to be all sweet and innocent either. She's just left camp and I find myself wondering quite what she's been up to...

note - none of that in any way goes towards the "she was asking for it" defense that is so often heard in cases of this sort.


message 10: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisathebooklover) | 9244 comments I think I must be at a similar place in the novel to you Helen because I have literally just read about H.H picking Lolita up from the camp. The jury is still out for me at this stage whether he shows remorse or not. Some of what he says makes me think he does feel remorse but then he will say something else which counters it to an extent so I will need to read further and see how it all pans out before making a final judgement. What I do know, is that this book has been very surprising (in a good way) so far for me and Nabokov is one talented writer.


message 11: by Lisa (last edited Jun 13, 2013 04:53PM) (new)

Lisa (lisathebooklover) | 9244 comments I am now 60% of the way through. It's taking me longer to get through than I anticipated because I have not had as much time for reading these past two days as I previously thought I would. However, I am still really enjoying it. I am finding that I am experiencing a lot of conflicting emotions whilst reading it and it is certainly getting me thinking which is again testament to the quality of Nabokov's writing.


message 12: by Esther (new)

Esther  (estame) | 467 comments I felt the language got a little too flowery around the 70% mark, and it slowed my reading down quite a bit.
Recently there has been a few high profile news stories in the Uk media about young girls being abducted/willingly going away with older men that they have started relationships with. I can't stop thinking about this book every time I watch the news!


message 13: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisathebooklover) | 9244 comments Esta wrote: "I felt the language got a little too flowery around the 70% mark, and it slowed my reading down quite a bit.
Recently there has been a few high profile news stories in the Uk media about young gir..."


I was thinking the same thing Esther. There was one such story in the newspaper yesterday about a girl who willingly ran away with an older man (a teacher) and Lolita was the first thing that popped into my head too.


message 14: by Lisa (last edited Jun 15, 2013 08:36AM) (new)

Lisa (lisathebooklover) | 9244 comments I have just finished it and it's fair to say that I loved it! I was really pleasantly surprised by it, it is a great read. I actually did feel a slight bit of sympathy towards H.H by the end and I think he did show a little bit of remorse about his relationship with Lolita. He acknowledged that he ruined her at the very least and I think he did love her, albeit in a morally-wrong, twisted way. It doesn't make it right what he did to her but Nabokov certainly gets you thinking and challenges your initial opinions about him as a character. I don't think his court statement would get him a reduced sentence though because he still broke the law and the moral boundaries of society and what he did, whether it was real love or not, was still fundamentally wrong. I gave this book 5 stars because even though it dragged a bit on occasions, it was still an engaging, beautifully-written, at times tragic read with a a great 'unreliable' narrator in H.H. I will definitely read it again and am now going to check out the 1997 film adaptation with Jeremy Irons as H.H which has been sitting in my DVD pile for the past few months :)


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