|
Movies Books Music Food Tv Shows Technology Politics Video Games Parenting Fashion Green Living more >

Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Lolita (book) » User review

Lolita

A book by Vladimir Nabokov

< read all 26 reviews

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

  • Jun 21, 2009
Rating:
+3
I bought Nabokov's novel because of its reputation for being an excellent work of fiction, but only recently actually got around to reading it. The writing indeed is superb but, for me, required careful concentration to catch just a portion of the author's plays-on-words, cynical jokes, and classical literary allusions. A basic knowledge of French is helpful too. As most people know, it is the story of 40-year-old intellectual Swiss pedophile Humbert Humbert and his doomed sexual passion for a 12-year-old American girl named Dolores ("Lolita") Haze. The back cover of the book or introduction also will tell you that it's about sophisticated old-world Europe confronting unsophisticated Eisenhower era American prosperity. Maybe – maybe not. It's true however that Humbert and Lolita embark on a trans-continental road trip that conjures up slogans like "See the USA in your Chevrolet" and all of those brightly-colored postcards from every state along the way. The first-person narration of their adventures can make you laugh out loud, but it is hard to ignore the sordid pedophilia of our erudite protagonist. I found it very hard to sympathize with the rambling descriptions of his hopeless, helpless attraction despite his frequent self-loathing and self-recrimination. In at least a few places in the book however it is clear he recognizes the horror he has inflicted on the child. For example, he reflects as follows on their road trip: "We had been everywhere. We had really seen nothing. And I catch myself thinking today that our long journey had only defiled with a sinuous trail of slime the lovely, trustful, dreamy, enormous country that by then, in retrospect, was no more to us than a collection of dog-eared maps, ruined tour books, old tires, and her sobs in the night – every night, every night – the moment I feigned sleep." Finally, I was disappointed with what appeared to be a forced denouement for the book. The author seemed to feel some need to conjure up a little action at the end of the book to bring it to a close. Personally, I'd rather have seen the authorities merely catch up with Humbert and slap the cuffs on him. Definitely, good writing but a depressing subject and a protagonist with whom few will feel much sympathy.

What did you think of this review?

Helpful
3
Thought-Provoking
3
Fun to Read
3
Well-Organized
3
Post a Comment
More Lolita (book) reviews
review by . January 04, 2010
Book Review: Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Click here to read the book quotes.      As most of Nabokov's books are, this one was an exceptional joy to read. Even though the subject matter is deplorable, the writing style, imagery, and emotions that comprise this story make it a great piece of literary fiction.      As I read the book, I found myself in another time and place that was described by a detestable pedophile named Humbert Humbert. From the very beginning of the book, it's easy …
Quick Tip by . June 20, 2011
It has been awhile since I read this book and others by the author. I recommend it highly. Most people think of it only as a sex book. In fact the name Lolita has become synonomous with sex with a young girl. However, these peope are ovelooking the fact that this is a very well-written book.
review by . February 11, 2010
A wonderful book that should not be missed!
      my edition       Lolita is one of those books that you're either going to love or you're going to hate. I choose the former -- it is simply superb.         I fell in love with Nabokov after reading Pale Fire, but I'd never read Lolita. Truthfully, this book has been sitting on my bookshelf for years, because I was hesitant to read it due to the subject matter. Yes, the main character is a pedophile, yes, the subject in question …
review by . July 06, 2010
Vladimir Nabokov writes Lolita with an elegance that is more similar to poetry than prose. Despite Russian being his native tongue, he masters the English language with an ease and grace that is difficult to find in many writers. Although the book has been banned in the past and the subject matter often troubles moral purists and schoolteachers alike, the book is written in such a way that is tasteful and beautiful.      Humbert Humbert’s love for Lolita is forbidden, …
review by . May 19, 2010
This book is simply beautiful! Most people may think beautiful is a strange word to describe a love relationship between a very young girl and her much elder admirer, but Nabokov succeeds in writing the book in a way that denies all pre-conceived opinions. He is able to strip age from the two characters in order to reveal true human emotions in an entirely new spectrum. The plot is original and unpredictable and follows the "couple" as middle-aged Humbert traverses the country from one …
review by . June 08, 2010
This is, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest books written in the 20th century, not that I'm into hyperbole, but if my mom and any copy of this book were falling out of an airplane, and I could only save one- bye, mom.      This is the story, at least on the surface, of a middle- aged man in love with a 12 year old girl.  More importantly, this is an immaculately written book about desires that deviate from society's accepted norms.  It is also an example …
Quick Tip by . July 13, 2010
This book is beautifully written about disgusting events. It's great, but it seriously drags.
Quick Tip by . July 09, 2010
Lolita is an amazing book for the alliteration alone!
Quick Tip by . July 03, 2010
slightly disturbing tale but definitely a fair commentary on our culture
Quick Tip by . July 02, 2010
Nabokov's writing is absolutely beautiful. It's like reading poetry, not prose!
About the reviewer
Steve DiBartola ()
Ranked #155
I was invited to join Lunch by one of the developers, who apparently read some reviews I posted on Library Thing. My interests are books, music, and movies. I enjoy both classical and contemporary fiction, … more
Consider the Source

Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.

You
SteveDiBartola
Your ratings:
rate more to improve this
About this book

Wiki

Lolita (1955) is a novel by Vladimir Nabokov, first written in English and published in 1955 in Paris, later translated by the author into Russian and published in 1958 in New York. The book is internationally famous for its innovative style and infamous for its controversial subject: the protagonist and unreliable narrator, middle aged Humbert Humbert, becomes obsessed and sexually involved with a twelve-year-old girl named Dolores Haze.

After its publication, Nabokov's Lolita attained a classic status, becoming one of the best-known and most controversial examples of 20th century literature. The name "Lolita" has entered pop culture to describe a sexually precocious young girl. The novel was adapted to film in 1962 and again in 1997.

Lolita is listed in the TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005. It is fourth on the Modern Library's 1998 list of the 100 Best Novels of the 20th century.
view wiki

Details

ISBN-13: 978-0822206835
Author: Vladimir Nabokov
Genre: Fiction, Literature
Publisher: Everyman's Library, Vintage
Date Published: 1955
First to Review
© 2014 Lunch.com, LLC All Rights Reserved
Lunch.com - Relevant reviews by real people.
()
This is you!
Ranked #
Last login
Member since
reviews
comments
ratings
questions
compliments
lists