Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Review of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Finished May 13, 2008
Description: When it was published in 1955, Lolita immediately became a cause célèbre because of the freedom and sophistication with which it handled the unusual erotic predilections of its protagonist. But Vladimir Nabokov's wise, ironic, elegant masterpiece owes its stature as one of the twentieth century's novels of record not to the controversy its material aroused but to its author's use of that material to tell a love story almost shocking in its beauty and tenderness. Awe and exhilaration–along with heartbreak and mordant wit–abound in this account of the aging Humbert Humbert's obsessive, devouring, and doomed passion for the nymphet Dolores Haze. Lolita is also the story of a hypercivilized European colliding with the cheerful barbarism of postwar America, but most of all, it is a meditation on love–love as outrage and hallucination, madness and transformation.
This was the most disturbing book I have ever read. The story of an older man, Humbert Humbert's obsession and "love affair" with the 12 year old nymphet Dolores Haze. While the subject matter was grotesque the writing was beautiful. Nabokov first wrote Lolita in English which was not his native language (Russian). I have to admit that I actually laughed out loud in a few parts because of his sarcastic wit. When he asked, "why do these people guess so much and shave so little?"
This was the first book I have read for the 1% Challenge to read 10 books from 1001 Books to Read Before You Die. 1 down and 10 to go!