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A book by Vladimir Nabokov

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A wonderful book that should not be missed!

  • Feb 11, 2010
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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 is 12 years old. No, I do not condone sex with children or even adult fascination with "nymphets." However, Lolita, as it turns out, is a masterpiece, an outstanding read, and my faith in Nabokov remains justified.

I won't go through the plot details, but I think this book has been much misunderstood and my suspicion is that most readers who hated this book probably either did not finish it all the way through or missed the point entirely.

Nabokov's writing is simply superb, exquisite, and all of the other superlatives you can possibly think of. The man was a genius with his use of the English language and his depiction of post-WWII American culture. I found myself reading this book very slowly so as not to miss a single word or a single nuance. His writing is filled with word play, he uses comedy to balance out the tragedy of it all, and reading the book was an experience.

In considering your feelings about Lolita, you have to remember that Humbert Humbert is an unreliable narrator at best -- very sly, self-serving and downright devious. I never at any point in time felt sorry for him, but without giving away the show, the ending of this novel (not the very end, but close to, when he meets up with Lolita after some time) was simply beautiful. Nabokov wasn't at all sanctioning pedophilia ... if you read carefully, and finish the entire book, you'll find it's just the opposite.

An amazing book, I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys a reading masterpiece...here, literature definitely shines as art to be savored and enjoyed.
A wonderful book that should not be missed!

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April 28, 2010
Great review, Nancy! I felt the same way about Humbert as an unreliable narrator! Feel free to add the review to my reading community Cafe Libri. I'm sure the other members will enjoy your review as well!
February 14, 2010
Great review, Nancy! I've heard so many great things about this book, but I've still yet to read it. I'll have to check out this classic some day. Thanks for sharing! :)
February 14, 2010
it took me a while to get up the courage to read it, I'll tell you! But the writing, OMG...it's the best.
February 14, 2010
I am from Russia, but I haven't read much of Nabokov unfortunately. I thought you might enjoy reading @Adrianna's take on it, check out her review of Lolita. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
April 28, 2010
Thanks for the review shout out, Anastasia! :)
April 28, 2010
You're welcome!
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 . 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!
Quick Tip by . June 28, 2010
Brilliant writing.
About the reviewer
Nancy Oakes ()
Ranked #410
Hi! I'm a very avid reader and book collector and I love to cook. Aside from my family, reading and cooking are my two passions in life. I'm here on Lunch.com because I am looking for people with similar … more
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About this book


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.
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ISBN-13: 978-0822206835
Author: Vladimir Nabokov
Genre: Fiction, Literature
Publisher: Everyman's Library, Vintage
Date Published: 1955
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