Book Review #1.

23 days ahead of schedule, I finished Lolita tonight at the driving range, while Kurt was practicing his swing. I have to was a pretty great read.

I'm sure that the stigma attached to Lolita (that it is a pornographic novel about child molestation) would turn a lot of people off. And really, it's not a word of a lie. However, it is pornographic in the classic and far more subtle sense of the word than what we refer to as porn today and seriously beautifully written. So beautifully written that you actually like the main character...said child molester.
It's visual, funny, tragic and beautiful, all at the same time. It's written in the first person, and written as if he's telling you the story from a mental asylum, many years after the fact, so he constantly makes reference to the reader, to his doctors, and to the present, as he recalls details from his past. The details are extreme, but all play a part in the story as a whole, so it's really not the kind of book where you can skim through pages and still "get" the story.
First published in Paris in 1956 (after being rejected by numerous American publishers for obvious reasons), it was first published in the States in 1958 (after aforementioned publishers saw the success it found in France). Nabokov includes a letter to the reader at the end of the book, explaining the process behind writing Lolita and the difficulty he had in getting it published.
Verdict: Very, very good.
Next up is The Man of My Dreams by Curtis Sittenfeld (surprisingly, a female named Curtis). I read Prep, another one of her books, during my trip to Spain in 2006 and really enjoyed it. I thought I should break up the heavier classics with some teen angst, which seem to be the theme to her books. However, so many of the situations and experiences described in Prep were painfully familiar to was like living through that awkwardness all over again...but in a good way. Looking forward to cracking it open on the ferry tomorrow morning.


Mostly Lisa said...

i wrote a pretty mean book review of Lolita in first year english. one of the few books i actually enjoyed reading for scholarly purposes. it is a book that makes you think and squirm, but yet somehow you can't put it down.

i think what astonished me most about Lolita is that Nabokov's actually wrote it in English. Truly a linguistic marvel.

have you seen the film adaptations of Lolita?

Kristin. said...

Nope, never seen the adaptations. It had been on my "to read" list for years...can't believe I only got around to it now, but glad I did.

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