Powered by Blogger

Sunday, June 03, 2007

1001 Book Challenge - Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

The plot reads like a moral nightmare––Humbert Humbert, an esteemed European gentleman with a penchant for paedophilia, becomes a border at the home of Charlotte Haze and falls in love with her twelve year old daughter, Dolores (or ‘Lolita’). Through machination and plain luck, Humbert finally succeeds in ‘winning’ Lolita and what follows is a damning decline into desperation and murder, as he seeks to withhold his claim on the child.

Lolita is a much more significant work than its sordid reputation warrants. True, the sexual content is unsettling and recurrent but it has many other themes, like how the power of love––even its grossest types––can dominate over all other emotions. Its rich language is delightful. Nabokov’s descriptions take the reader through materialistic Middle America, with its substandard hotels and suspect characters. Lastly, we are offered one of the most compelling villains in literature. For all his vileness, one can’t help liking Humbert and his macabre and humorous observations. In the end, we feel a slight pang of pity for his fate––and for Lolita’s. In a word: brilliant. I love this book (and apologise for the excessive use of adverbs in this review!)

Note: discussions continuing in previous post about blog book. I'd rather keep it in one place, until further notice. Please, add to the dialogue!


Comments on "1001 Book Challenge - Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov"


Blogger Jean-Luc Picard said ... (10:29 pm) : 

Lolita probably would be criticised even more if it were written today, in the view of people's opinions of paedophiles. Would anyone dare write it today?


post a comment