The Enchanter (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 5 Nov 2009
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Nabokov writes prose the only way it should be written, that is, ecstatically." -- John Updike "Masterly ... brilliant." -- V. S. Pritchett, The New York Review of Books "A gem to be appreciated by any admirer of the most graceful and provocative literary craftsman." -- Chicago Tribune "One of the best books of the year ... [The Enchanter] displays the supple clarity of a master." -- Boston Globe "Enchanting ... sleekly wrought." -- Newsweek
From the Inside Flap
The Enchanter is the Ur-Lolita, the precursor to Nabokov's classic novel. At once hilarious and chilling, it tells the story of an outwardly respectable man and his fatal obsession with certain pubescent girls, whose coltish grace and subconscious coquetry reveal, to his mind, a special bud on the verge of bloom. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The main character is a middle-aged, respectable, well-off man, living alone and lonely. He also has a distinct "liking" for teenage girls who are just hitting adolescence, but doesn't dare to try anything. One in particular catches his notice, a coltish girl on roller skates who talks to him at times and gains his affection and lust.
He proposes to the girl's widowed mother, who is terminally ill and pretty crabby; he has no interest in his "monstrous bride" but it's the only way he can get to the girl. The wife's condition gets worse over the following months, and she dies. And the man choreographs his own downfall as he plots to seduce his new stepdaughter...
The mind of a pedophile is a disgusting thing, and Nabokov makes no excuses for it. "The Enchanter" is a pretty straightforward story in comparison, without a lot of twists or surprises. It's far from a bad book, but it's not a terribly good one either. It's fairly ordinary, especially when compared to modern classic "Lolita."
The high point of "The Enchanter" is the rambling thoughts of the lead character as the book opens. Then it dips down and proceeds more or less steadily. Nabokov's lush language and complex symbolism aren't really very present here. His writing is blander and more straightforward, with a lack of polish.
The characters are given no names -- they're just the man, the girl, the wife. And the only characters we really get insight into are the lead character and the teenage girl.Read more ›