Despite its lascivious reputation, the pleasures of Lolita are as much intellectual as erogenous. It is a love story with the power to raise both chuckles and eyebrows. Humbert Humbert is a European intellectual adrift in America, haunted by memories of a lost adolescent love. When he meets his ideal nymphet in the shape of 12-year-old Dolores Haze, he constructs an elaborate plot to seduce her, but first he must get rid of her mother. In spite of his diabolical wit, reality proves to be more slippery than Humbert's feverish fantasies, and Lolita refuses to conform to his image of the perfect lover.
This is a relatively quick-reading gem of a book that may surprise you. Don't go into it thinking it's the story of a predatory man lurking after a young girl. Think of this as a glimpse into the mind of man who finds himself feeling emotions he knows are wrong, but chooses to ignore them based on reciprocity.
Nabokov fills this book with puns and anagrams galore, and having dear Humbert Humbert poke fun at the names of Lolita's classmates at one point. This is a word lover's dream if you pay close enough attention.
Additionally, this novel contains my favorite sentence in all of literature, describing the death of Humbert Humbert's mother; again, an example of Nabokov's command of words and sentences. Definitely recommended.
This is one of the best novels I've ever read. It is a horrific story that is elegantly written. I find it fascinating how many people consider Lolita a love story. I personally found it to be a disturbing tale of unrequited obsession, and the lengths one man is willing to go in order to possess the object of his desire. But one of the great things about this book is how many ways it can be interpreted. The reader is left to decide whether the narrator, Humbert Humbert, can be trusted to accurately relay the events that occur between himself and Lolita. Is he just a man desperately in love, or is he a monster trying to seduce the reader into empathy?
I tried to like this book, I knew what it was about going into it, but I just couldn't finish it. It is the story of a pedophile who takes advantage of the vulnerable state of his step-daughter after the death of her mother who he only married in order to have the opportunity to drug her daughter and take advantage of her then. I decided to read it because it was billed as a love story, maybe it ended that way, but I couldn't make myself finish it to find out.
I only read the book because it was the only one left on my list of top books of the 20th century-and because I read "Reading Lolita in Tehran." But- it is something that should be read. Excellent writing.
I found Lolita to be an interesting read, but I was left a little perplexed as to exactly feel about the book. The book had great reviews and I had heard it was on the list of 100 books to read before you die, so I was excited to read it. I think the point of the book and why it is so good is that it is very descriptive and a new writing style for the time it was written.
I think it is a different type of book than I have ever read before and in that light I would recommend reading it. I feel it is also a type of book that needs to be reread over again and again to gain a real appreciation for it.
Lolita is one of those books that I had always meant to read but was too shy to ever pick up! I was surprised at how humorous this book is, how well written, how well crafted. It was fascinating, actually, not prurient.
This is an intelligent, brilliantly written book. Those who are disgusted by the subject matter really do not get the point. There are so many layers here...Humbert Humbert is a sociopath, and somehow you are in his head and seeing life through his eyes! If the story line makes you queasy, (and everyone knows it before they even pick the book up) for heaven's sake, don't read it! If you want an intellectual, intense, clever, comical, awful, sad book then by all means read it. Nabakov was way before his time.
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.
Wow, this was a tough one for me. I guess I thought the seduction/relationship was more pure, silly me. This was a beautifully written book, but the subject was uncomfortable for me. I read it to the end because it keeps showing up on "best novels ever" lists and I just thought I should slog through. I guess I'd rather not have read it, all things being equal. I almost feel like I should apologize for that, given the quality of writing, but I just can't get beyond the story. Disturbing and unsettling...
I think the posted description of this book as a "love story" is somewhat misleading (although it is certainly open to interpretation). This is the story of a sick and depraved man who is completely obsessed with a 12-year old girl. Only a master of the English language like Nabokov (and it's not even his first language!) could write so superbly as to entice readers to stay on this emotional rollercoaster of a book. Lolita was both more graphic, disturbing, charming and funny than I expected it to be - and that combination is certain to make you uncomfortable at some points in the novel. My book club was deeply divided over this book, some people loved it and others hated it, even refusing to finish reading it. For my part, I think it's one of the best-written novels I have ever read, and I'm really grateful that I got the chance to experience it, after it sat on my shelf for many years. It's a quick and engrossing read, I finished it in a day, but it leaves you with many questions afterward. Highly recommended for book clubs!
Another of my favorite classic novels. This book has a strange way of making Humbert likeable, though he does dispicable things. Great writing.
What a great, but twisted, love story.
couldn't get into this one.
I have to say it was a very disturbing book. Its usually not something I read but I did kinda liked it. NOt something I would read again but it was ok
Although this has an interesting plotline, I don't care for the style of writing.
Amazing book...one of the greats of the 20th century.
Beautifully written, also shows how poorly the story was twisted in the movie. The movie seems to sympathize with the protagonist, whereas the book shows how horrible he is
Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977) was a Russian-American novelist and entomologist. His first nine novels were in Russian, but he achieved international prominence after he began writing English prose. Lolita is probably his most renowned work and is included on several must read lists including 1001 books you must read before you die and Modern Library's 100 Best Novels.
Of course Lolita is known for its controversial subject matter about a middle-aged man who is obsessed with a 12-year old girl, Dolores Haze or Lolita. The protagonist, Humbert Humbert ends up marrying Lolita's mother to stay close to the girl. When the mother is killed in an accident, Humbert proceeds with his fantasy to seduce Lolita. The subject of pedophilia is one subject that is still taboo in today's world and there are definitely some awkward moments in the book. But for the most part, the book is not lascivious and it is basically a love story of Humbert's obsession. The book is also full of very eloquent prose by Nabokov who also plays a lot of word games and manipulations throughout the narrative. I'm amazed that a non-native English speaker was able to master the English language so well to write this and his other novels in English. But overall, only a mild recommendation for this one. The subject matter aside, I found many of the passages and descriptions too drawn out as Humbert and Lolita travel across America. Not sure if I was on board with the conclusion of the novel either.
I remember seeing the movie version of this several years ago and thought it was worth watching although I'm sure it was toned down from the book.
Although beautifully written this book is not the best love story ever written. As a parent I did not enjoy the subject matter. An older man falls for a child of 12.7 years, and spends the next 3 years travailing around America staying in one hotel after another. He is trying to build a life of sorts for the 2 of them. I find Humbert Humbert to be completely obsessive and misguided. It took me a long time to read this book, but I finished it thinking it would get better. How could I not like this classic?
Read for my book club and absolutely HATED this book! Yet, many others like it, maybe you're one of them! :)
This was for a bookclub - wasn't great but glad I read it.
Disgusting. I was only able to get through about 220 pages. At first I thought it was just plain silly. But then it got disturbing. I don't see at all how this is a "classic." It would have been shocking in its time, certainly, but I don't shocking constitutes "good."
A little too weird for my taste.