[Lolita Unknown Binding – 1957
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Top Customer Reviews
But what a poem. Humbert Humbert is perhaps the very model of the antihero but as he is also the narrator everything is seen through the prism of his own monstrous and predatory lusts. Lolita herself, as Humbert admits, remains something of an enigma throughout. The narrator is unable to see her as an individual and she is portrayed as the archetypal 'nymphet,' who serves merely to serve his own needs. Any deviation from this role is regarded as betrayal. But then the book is entitled Lolita not Delores Hayes and 'Lolita' is no more than the perfect nymphet lurking inside Humbert's diseased brain never a girl of blood and flesh.
Humbert does not in fact offer much in the way of self justification beyond the occasional admission of insanity and his sickening claims to truly love the girl. He also seems to grow in awareness of his perversion as the novel goes on but never seems to regret it. He starts by offering various justifications of child brides from history but his final allusion is to Sade's Justine which is surely an admission of guilt. But the prose is so tender and so darkly comic that all this is repeatedly obscured and Nabokov manages to win you a twisted sympathy for his protagonist even, almost, for his predicament.Read more ›
Although Humbert is both the villain and narrator, he doesn't hide the sordidness of his crime, and the effects of abuse on Lolita are acknowledged. Nabokov brilliantly treads a fine line between making Humbert human (and seeing the world through his eyes) and recognising the reality of his crimes. Despite Nabokov's choice of making a paedophile his narrator and central character, there is little sympathy for Humbert throughout the book, and paedophilia is presented as being every bit as repugnant as it is generally viewed today. Where Humbert makes excuses for himself, it is clear that they are Humbert's, not Nabokov's, excuses, and we are not expected to sympathise. Humbert's actions are also not presented as being in any way erotic. There are no graphic descriptions either, the suggestion is enough.
Because Nabokov treats his subject so skilfully, `Lolita' was a fantastic book.Read more ›
Strangely, no such law exists requiring similar caveats at the beginning of, for instance, American Psycho. But then we already knew that it's not the done thing to abduct, torture, rape and then kill women. Or indeed to abduct, torture, kill and THEN rape them. Pshaw. Let me begin by saying that, groping children is WRONG. Just don't do it.
That said, it's telling that when I Googled for a really well written erotic novel, the first one that comes up on several lists is a story about a kiddy fiddler. Go figure.
By turns, erotic, romantic, sordid, ironic, comic and tragic.
Romantic: The childish love affair between the young Humbert and his sweetheart Annabel - all unfulfilled fumblings and unconsummated gropings - is sweet and poignant. And yet it is what sets the man on the path to paedophilia.
Comic: Humbert's disdain for his "comedy wife", Valeria and her taxi driving, White Russian colonel beau. The laughs are the nasty, judgemental sort, the kind that you're secretly ashamed of.
Erotic: I'm sorry, but Nabokov's lingering description of the nymphet Lolita IS erotic. Of course it transgresses the most sacrosanct of social boundaries, but it is all the more prurient for it.
Sordid: Humbert attains his loins' desire and takes the (mostly willing) Lo on what he intends to be a paedophillic road trip around the American mid-West. Not graphically rendered, but even Humbert knows he's doing wrong (and he revels in it).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Enchanting, amazing use of the written word, if you don't speak French you may struggle as it is peppered with French Phases. Read morePublished 1 month ago by AngelaDeNorth
A beautiful story of obsession, not love. In the most poetic way.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov tells the story of Humbert Humbert, a middle aged, hateful, intellectual snob who's attracted to young girls he calls "Nymphets". Read morePublished 1 month ago by my name is none of your business
The book is totally sick and disgusting but it is a good read. Definitely worth the money that I paid for it.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
A great book, very funny. I only read it a month ago but I am going to read it again next week. Highly enjoyable!Published 2 months ago by gnat